Mother-daughter relationships are meant to be great. They are one of the bonds that are not easily broken. Mothers are meant to protect and guide their daughters, teaching them to grow into healthy, mature women. However, this is not always the truth. There are many songs that explore the complexity of mother-daughter relationships.
Some mothers mistreat or abuse their daughters. They do not treat their daughters like their own children, leading to a complicated dynamic.
This creates wounds in their relationships that might never be healed, causing them to drift apart. Some of these relationships end negatively, and there is no way to fix them.
21 Songs About Bad Mother-Daughter Relationships
Today, we will look at some songs about bad mother-daughter relationships. They will give you an in-depth look at what some daughters go through and the twisted dynamic.
1. What Goes Around Comes Around – The Villains Lair
The most iconic women from Disney start our list of songs about bad mother-daughter relationships. This song focuses on Mother Gothel, Maleficent, The Queen of Hearts, Lady Tremaine, The Evil Queen, and more as they find ways to take their revenge on their daughters.
They resort to dark magic from Doctor Facilier’s “friends from the other side.” Although fictional, they are an example of how far some mothers would go to hurt their children.
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2. Because of You – Kelly Clarkson
Divorce can impact children in ways that most parents cannot even imagine. Kelly sang this song to talk about the pain she felt after her parents’ divorce. Her mother was too busy that she had to make and eat food by herself from a young age.
She vows not to be the same when her turn comes to avoid having the same effect on her children as her parents had on her.
3. Family Portrait – P!nk
Bad relationships between parents will always affect children. In this song, P!nk talks to her mother, telling her that the pain the mother feels is also affecting her.
She just wants them to be a family and is ready to do anything but the mother does not care. She just wants her mother to make up for her sake.
4. I Hate My Mom – GRLwood
This is such an intense thing to say but sadly represents the truth that some daughters go through. GRLwood’s mother criticizes everything about her, from her weight to her clothes, making her lash out saying that she hates her mother.
Not all women were meant to be mothers, especially her controlling mom. This causes a lot of resentment and leads to such intense anger that will forever affect the mother-and-daughter relationship.
5. Concrete Angel – Martina McBride
The little girl in this song goes to school with lunch that she packed herself and the same old clothes she always wears. She has bruises on her arms and sits alone.
She dreams of a place where she is loved because she does not have that right now. Her mother abuses her physically and verbally until she eventually dies.
That is sadly the truth for many children, earning this song a spot on our list of songs about bad mother-daughter relationships.
6. I Keep Trying – Grace Blue
It sounds like Grace wrote this song to show how unbearable life can be with her mother. She keeps trying to make things right, but it seems like whatever she does is not enough for her mother.
She just wants someone to tell her it’s alright, but since it is not coming, she decides to do what is best for her.
7. Daughter – Pearl Jam
This song talks of a daughter who listens to her mother reading to her but doesn’t understand, although she tries. There is something wrong with the girl, but nobody knows what.
Some have theorized that the daughter has dyslexia, which is why she does not understand what her mother reads to her. The mother doesn’t understand this, and she blames the daughter.
Others say it is a song about child abuse; the mother knows (or is the abusive one) her daughter is abused but doesn’t do anything about it. There are different understandings of the song and it is something people with bad mother-daughter relationships understand well.
8. Kristy, Are You Doing Okay? – The Offspring
The singer talks about a girl called Kristy who went through a hard time when she was younger. The singer implies a troubled relationship at home, and although he does not say who might be hurting Kristy, her mother should have been protecting her.
Daughters rely on their mothers, and not getting that protection can feel like a betrayal, and it seems like that is what Kristy is going through.
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9. Mean – Taylor Swift
This is another song most daughters with toxic mothers relate to. The song gained more popularity in the last two years, especially on TikTok, from daughters who have had rocky relationships with their mothers.
The painful words and the humiliation shapes some mother-daughter relationships, which is one of the worst things to endure, especially as a child.
10. Luka – Suzanne Vega
Suzanne gives us another song about domestic abuse and children. Luka tells her neighbor not to cause a scene when she hears any noise, saying, “they only hit until you cry.”
What is sad about this situation is that Luka doesn’t even ask for help. She thinks the only way is not to argue anymore. The parents have failed their child so much that she accepts that that is what their life is like.
11. Alyssa Lies – Jason Michael Carroll
Alyssa is a little girl who the singer’s daughter becomes friends with at school. The girl knows something is wrong with Alyssa because she lies about her bruises.
Alyssa lies every day about being abused by her family. Eventually, by the time anyone can do anything, it is discovered that Alyssa passed away as there was no one to protect her.
12. The Little Girl – John Michael Montgomery
This is another song that will tear at your heart. The little girl lives in a house with an alcoholic father and a drug-addicted mother. She does not get affection from any of her parents.
Her home situation worsens by the day, and she even witnesses her parents die. This can have untold trauma on a child, all because her parents couldn’t do what was best for her.
13. Tough Love – The Villains Lair
On to more lighthearted songs about bad mother-daughter relationships is the second installment of the Disney villainesses. They all sing badly about her stepdaughters and adopted daughters, glorifying what they did to them.
They call it tough love, but what they are doing is toxic. At least we know these songs are fiction, but they still represent the sad reality of many children.
14. I’m OK – Christina Aguilera
Christina Aguilera’s father was abusive, turning their house into what felt like a combat zone. This strained her relationship with her mother, feeling the pain her mother would go through.
This would change her relationship with her mother, not necessarily cause of her mother’s fault, and leaves her with permanent scars that will never fully heal.
15. Oh, Mother – Christina Aguilera
This is almost like a continuation of the previous songs. Although their home situation was more than unhealthy, at least we know that her mother eventually stood up for them.
She decided she would no longer let her children live in a toxic home and left her abusive husband. However, the emotional scars from the previous situation will never heal. It is encouraging to know that at least some mothers are ready to take steps to protect their daughters.
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16. Happier Than Ever – Kelly Clarkson
Known as an anthem among daughters who have rocky relationships with their mothers, this cover by Kelly Clarkson brings to the surface what they feel.
You want your mother to care about you, to want to know more about you, but it doesn’t happen. Kelly’s voice brings the perfect amount of pain that one feels deep in the heart.
Although Kelly didn’t say it is about her mother, those with bad mother-daughter relationships can relate to this song.
17. Independence Day – Martina McBride
Seeing your mother going through a hard time can be challenging for a daughter. In this case, the mother is proud and stays with an abusive and alcoholic husband even though it has a negative effect on her and her daughter.
It is important to realize that there was not much the mother could do, which might be what pushed her to burn her house to the ground.
At least she decided to do it when her daughter was not in the house. Whether the choice was right or wrong, it left the child without a parent; was that the right thing to do?
18. Motion Sickness – Phoebe Bridges
I feel like this song embraces what it is like to hold deep feelings of resentment towards someone but still want their approval. Phoebe sings that she still misses her mother like a little kid, even though she hates her for what she did.
Her mother told her she was bored when she met her, making her feel like she stopped her life just to take care of her. This is not what parents should feel for their children and it is heartbreaking that this is the reality for so many children.
19. Matilda – Harry Styles
Harry Styles joins our list of songs about bad mother-daughter relationships with “Matilda.” He sings of a girl who has now left home and had been treated badly at home.
She hosts parties without inviting her parents because they never show her love. This points to a difficult relationship with not just the father but her mother too. Matilda decides to do the best thing for herself and leaves home.
20. Mother Knows Best – Donna Murphy
This song is another gem from the Disney movie “Tangled”. Rapunzel wants to go outside, but Mother Gothel scares her into staying inside the tower.
She makes it look like she wants to protect her, saying she knows best. What Mother Gothel is doing is manipulating Rapunzel, scaring her so she can have control of her and her magical hair.
21. The Work Song – Cinderella
Cinderella’s best friends, the mice and other animals see how her stepmother mistreats her. “The Work Song” talks about how she is always put to work and cannot even finish her dress in time for the ball.
Many daughters, whether biological or step, are mistreated and overworked by their parents; Cinderella’s life is a reality for most of them, and not all of them have little animals to help them.
There are many songs about bad mother-daughter relationships that encapsulate the negative ways this relationship is exploited. You should listen to this playlist if you have a toxic relationship with your mother. Just know that it will be heart-wrenching.