Mothers carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, not to mention the heaping loads of guilt they feel for not being perfect.
Adults who blame their parents have so many psychological aspects to focus on, from Attachment Theory to the unmet needs of an inner child.
Even basic acts of love, like fixing a daughter’s smudged lipstick, can elicit harsh responses.
What is it going to take to stop blaming mom?
Can we create a world where no mother ever wonders again, “Why does my daughter blame me for everything?”
Why Do Daughters Blame Their Mothers for Everything?
Adults who blame their parents are common, but it seems no parent takes more of the brunt than the mother of a daughter.
Yes, there are really bad moms out there who probably deserve to take some, if not all, of the blame.
However, that’s the exception, not the rule. Not only do daughters’ blame shift like crazy, they now have psychology and genetics to back them up.
Psychoanalyst John Bowlby developed the Attachment Theory to explain the connection between adult behavior and the first few years of that person’s life.
In the first two and half years of life, a child depends on a mother for affection, nourishment, and basic needs. How the daughter and mother “attach” will likely define how that child turns out as an adult.
Inner Child Issues
“Healing the inner child” are buzzwords in today’s culture. Even though our behavior is directly related to the attention or neglect we received as children, we still work to heal that inner child allegedly inside all of us.
While adults can adapt or overcome early childhood issues, the inner child is still sitting somewhere suffering deep in our souls.
Mothers, with their unconditional love, just make easy targets for daughters. Whether it’s the temper tantrum of a two-year-old who wants another snack or the hormones of an independence-seeking teenager, it’s easy to blame mom.
Mothers are used to unrealistic expectations from society, social circles, and inside their own homes. Nothing makes a mother more upset than seeing their child hurting, and they’ll take all the punches to help the daughter through whatever challenge.
Mothers might inadvertently be teaching their daughters that it’s never okay to stop blaming mom. How many people do you know who had really strict parents but then those parents became grandparents who spoiled their grandkids?
Adults who blame their parents can carry on into old age. If a daughter sees her mom blaming grandma for everything, she might act accordingly.
Daughters Who Blame Their Mothers for Everything: 13 Reasons It’s Bad for Both of You
Mom blaming isn’t a new thing for Generation Z or the Millenials. Even the Washington Post tackled this topic back in 1987. While there isn’t a perfect way to stop blaming mom, there are perspectives every daughter needs to consider before making a maternal mess.
1. It Feeds the Beast of Blame
What starts out as outrageous accusations of blame eventually becomes so common neither mother nor daughter thinks twice about it.
The daughter shifts blame, and the mother absorbs it to keep the peace. This sets the stage for another blame showdown throughout both of their lives.
Valuable opportunities for mother-daughter connections are lost in a chess match of “Who’s to Blame?”
2. It Supports Everything Women Have Fought Against
Moms already get a raw end of the deal. Either they work too much and don’t give their kids enough attention, or they “sit at home all day” doing “nothing” but raising their children.
Even the number of snacks or screen time a child gets is blamed on the mother by her condescending counterparts.
Ours is a society that demands a work-life balance but still expects mothers to be perfect. Women of all ages should support each other and fight for precious civil, professional, and medical rights. They should not wage wars with blame ammunition.
3. It Builds Resentment
Adults who blame their parents will generally get away with it, even if a verbal fight precedes it. Deep down, in places the mother doesn’t like to talk about, she becomes more resentful.
This can lead to the mother carrying resentment and risk hurting her relationship with the daughter and all her other children.
The daughter can become resentful when “blaming mom” is second nature, and she can’t let go of what the parent did that impacted the daughter’s life.
4. It Causes Words We Can’t Take Back
Words like “I didn’t ask to be born!”, “I wish you had never been born!”, “I can’t believe I endured so much pain to have an ungrateful child like you!” and “You are the worst mom ever!” can be so hurtful for years to come.
When mothers and daughters are caught in the blame game, hurtful words come out. While we can forgive the people we love, we can never forget verbal scars that cut deep.
5. It Creates a Toxic Attachment
We see it in nature and our daily lives. No bond is stronger than that of a mother and daughter. Even the most inexperienced nature lover knows never to get between a momma bear and her cubs.
When a relationship is strong and healthy, a lifetime of memories is created. When the blame stays the same, two women are now co-dependent on each other.
The mother is always trying to avoid getting blamed by helping the child, and the child doesn’t know about life without being able to blame the mom. The daughter might not chase dreams because they are living a blame nightmare.
6. It Creates Avoidance of Real Issues
Let’s say a daughter has ongoing issues with finding a trusted and respectful partner. If the daughter blames the mother for not setting an example of a healthy relationship, the daughter isn’t addressing her own issues directly.
The same can be said of eating disorders: “Why did you always make me clean my plate? Now I’m so afraid of being fat I can’t eat anything!”
7. It Creates a Transactional Relationship
When a daughter feels wronged, she’s not going to stop blaming mom if it has worked in the past. The cycle can be something like this:
- I blame mom.
- Mom feels bad.
- Mom buys me something or does a task I don’t want to do to make me stop being mad at her.
This transaction is nowhere near the grace expected in a loving mother-daughter relationship. Blaming someone for something generally requires a resolution of the issue.
A daughter being nice to her mother shouldn’t come with terms and conditions like a website.
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8. It Can Breed Narcissism from an Early Age
“Daddy, I want an Oompa Looma NOOOOOW!…. You never give me anything I want.” Those words from Veruca Salt in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory show the worst side of giving a child too much of what they want with no consequences or accountability.
Narcissism can develop just as much from excessive praise and adoration as it can from gross neglect.
Children who blame their parents can become adults who blame their parents. Without learning accountability, the child is never accepted or treated as they are. They are treated how they want to be seen as perfect and blameless.
Parents can inadvertently feed the narcissistic beast that was once their adorable child. This can create children who turn into adults with a personality disorder among the hardest to treat.
9. It Can Create a Lack of Boundaries
A daughter’s relationship with her parents forms the very foundation of boundaries in the child’s life. We learn early not to touch a hot stove. Either fear of the hot stove or the act of touching it reinforces that boundary.
When a daughter doesn’t stop blaming mom for the stove being hot, that daughter isn’t learning boundaries and will struggle with this in every single relationship for the rest of her life.
A well-blamed mom will continue to adapt to the lack of boundaries to keep their precious child “happy,” not realizing they are setting the child up for a life of relationship challenges.
10. It Can Very Well Be True
Topping the charts of “Very Unhealthy Mother-Daughter Relationships” is when a mom truly is to blame but might be dealing with her own personality disorder or genetic traits that make it impossible to see her faults.
It creates a childhood and lifetime of conflict as a daughter can’t stop blaming mom because mom really is to blame for certain things.
While any relationship between a mother and daughter will have conflict, every gathering shouldn’t be akin to a verbal UFC match. Own your errors as a parent. Set a good example of accountability.
11. It Can Cause Mental Illness
Verbal abuse can be just as damaging as physical abuse, and it can go on longer because there aren’t injuries in plain sight.
A mother might ask a friend, “Why does my daughter blame me for everything?” but inside, she could be dealing with crippling anxiety, depression, and self-loathing.
Many expect mothers to be perfect, always have the right answer, and never make a misstep. On top of that, few mothers think, “I am doing a great job at this mothering thing. I should have two more kids!”
Add in sleepless nights, emotionally draining fights, and balancing out other relationships, and it’s no wonder that one in 10 moms is depressed. When a mom is prone to depression, that trait can be passed on to daughters, creating a family tree of mental issues.
12. It Can Impact Every Other Relationship
The mother-daughter bond is one of nature’s strongest and most resilient. When the two parties involved don’t have a healthy relationship, there can be a sense of “If I can’t get along with her, I can’t get along with anyone.”
A daughter who doesn’t stop blaming her mom will assign blame in other relationships, causing tension in her personal and professional life.
A mother who always gets blamed by her daughter could begin to accept all responsibility in her circle.
13. It’s Most Likely You Will Live to Regret It
The odds are a daughter will outlive a child, but research from the Institute of Medicine shows that 18% of parents lose a child by age 70.
As Buddha said, “The trouble is, you think you have time.” When maternal blame becomes common, it might be the last conversation a mother and daughter have.
That leaves the surviving woman with guilt on top of grief and a lifetime of regrets. Guilt is rarely rational or logical. Even in the “bargaining” phase of grief, the survivor tries to unweave years of blame for just one more chance to do it right.
What Do You Do When Your Child Blames You For Everything?
Even in the earliest Bible chapter, Adam blames his heavenly father for “giving him a woman,” who then shared and ate the forbidden fruit. It’s essential to start by knowing you are not alone.
You are not a failure because your child has these blame game issues. You do, however, have to own your role in it.
There are simple ways to avoid “fault lines” in your home.
- Don’t Fight Back: When a child is in the heat of the moment and shooting blame darts at you, keep quiet. At most, say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” Circle back to the topic when the child has calmed down.
- Don’t Allow Blame at Home: That goes for everyone in the household. If something goes wrong, don’t assign blame. Figure out the path to fix it.
- Own Your Mistakes: If you are to blame, set a good example by accepting responsibility for it. Don’t get into a tit-for-tat of “Remember the time you did XX, and I forgave you?”
- Use the Socratic Method: Mothers often want to solve all their children’s problems. It can set the stage for blame. For example, “You told me it sounded like fun to go to Europe instead of getting an internship before graduation. Now I can’t get a job because of it!” When you use the Socratic Method to solve a problem, you aren’t giving advice but guiding your children through critical thinking.
- “What are the benefits of going to Europe? What are the potential risks? How will this benefit your future career?”
- End the conversation with something like, “You have a lot to think about. I trust you’ll make the best decision for you, and I support whatever decision you make.”
What if you are already caught in the Blame Game hamster wheel and can’t get out? Remember this mantra, “It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing.”
Enlist a family counselor if you think that’s the best path, or have an honest conversation about boundaries and accountability with your daughter.
There is going to be tension in a parental relationship.
Whether it’s a child who isn’t emotionally developed enough to understand accountability, a teenager dealing with hormones (or a mother going through the hormone-drive cycle of menopause), or an adult child who struggles with past sins, you can’t avoid conflict.
You can set a healthy stage to address and resolve the conflict. Mothering doesn’t stop when the child is 18. It’s a lifelong commitment, and you always have time to turn the relationship around.