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8 Details Jennette McCurdy Has Revealed About Her Mom’s Abuse & How She Feels About Her Now

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Jennette McCurdy, Debra McCurdy

Former child actress Jennette McCurdy recently opened up about harrowing details centered around the abuse she endured from her mother, Debra McCurdy, while she was growing up.

During an appearance on the season premiere of "Red Table Talk," McCurdy spoke in-depth to Jada Pinkett Smith, daughter Willow Smith, and mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, about the relationship she had with her own mother.

McCurdy also recently made headlines after publishing her memoir "I'm Glad My Mom Died," where the former Nickelodeon star described the alleged abuse she suffered while working for the network, and then from her mother, Debbie, who died from cancer in 2013.

Here are 8 horrifying details Jennette McCurdy has revealed about her mother.

1. Jennette's mother taught her how to be anorexic.

In her memoir, McCurdy candidly wrote about how her mother taught her how to be anorexic at the age of 11. 

The actress wrote that the eating disorder had "robbed me of my joy and any amount of free-spiritedness that I had," and that she also experienced stages of binge eating and bulimia.

It wasn't until she was well into her 20s that she sought out an eating disorder specialist who helped her to "take some control of my relationship with food."

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"I feel for anybody who relates to this. It's quite unfortunate, but my mom taught me anorexia. She taught me calorie restriction when I was 11," McCurdy said on "Red Table Talk."

McCurdy added that "as disturbing as it is," she and her mother bonded by turning to a calorie restriction, viewing it as their personal secret.

"We were just in the disease, in the sickness. But there was a connection that the sickness created that I, of course, couldn't see at the time."

2. Her mother sent her a disparaging and scathing email.

In McCurdy's book, the actress wrote about a particularly disturbing email she'd received from her mother, speaking about it further on "Red Table Talk."

During the episode, McCurdy spoke about her mother's response to paparazzi photos taken in August 2012 of her, then 20 years old, and her ex-partner on vacation in Hawaii. McCurdy acknowledged that there was a "significant age difference" between them.

"The relationship had been a secret from her. I understand why she was disapproving. There was a significant age difference, but I don't respect how she handled it," McCurdy said.

She then went on to read the email that was sent to her by her mother. 

"'Dear [Jennette], I am so disappointed in you,'" McCurdy read. "'You used to be my perfect little angel, but now you are nothing more than a little — all caps — slut, a floozy, all used up. And to think you wasted it on that hideous ogre of a man. Add that to the list of things you are: liar, conniving, evil.'"

3. Her mother would force Jennette and her brother to shower together.

On "Red Table Talk," McCurdy spoke about some of the emotionally abusive tactics her mother would use, which included forcing her and her brother to shower together, while McCurdy was 11 and her brother was 16.

The 'iCarly' star told hosts Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris that the showers included genital and breast exams to check for cancer, which McCurdy never questioned since her mother had experience with the disease.

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“Mom showers me with Scotty sometimes,” she read from her book while on "Red Table Talk."

"He’s almost 16 at this point. I get really embarrassed when she showers us together. I can tell he does too.”

McCurdy's mother also justified the showers by saying she had "too much to do," and bathing McCurdy and her brother together would speed things up.

4. Jennette's trauma from her mother bled into her other relationships.

While on "Red Table Talk," McCurdy spoke about how, as a result of the trauma she experienced from her mother, led her to be in unhealthy and codependent relationships. 

"Because I was enmeshed and codependent [and] very anxiously attached with my mother, I found the kind of relationships that reflected that dynamic," she said. "And so I fell into unhealthy relationships where I was supporting the other person and I really felt like, 'That's what I bring to the table.'"

McCurdy continued: "It has been a lot of work to unpack. I learned to be really on the lookout for narcissistic partners, really on the lookout for enmeshment and codependency. I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel like there's still a part of me that's wired that way."

5. Jennette was unable to hug people because of her mother's manipulation.

During her "Red Table Talk" interview, McCurdy detailed an instance in which her mother stayed in bed with her and hugged her all night.

"So she's hugging me tightly. And I feel physically how much her body is deteriorating from cancer, right? How am I supposed to set a boundary? And how am I supposed to look my dying mother in the eye and say, 'Mom, can you not squeeze me tonight? Because you're really invading my personal boundary.' I just didn't, and I couldn't."

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The emotional manipulation caused McCurdy to be wary of hugging people for some time afterward. 

"I couldn't hug people for so long," she said. "I now love hugs and welcome hugs. But it felt inherently inappropriate to me. It felt like [people] want something from me that I can't get."

6. Jennette's mother disapproved of her friendship with Miranda Cosgrove.

According to Insider, in McCurdy's memoir, the actress wrote about how her mother had discouraged her from befriending 'iCarly' costar, Miranda Cosgrove.

"On set, Miranda said cuss words like 'sh-t' and 'a-s,' and she took the Lord's name in vain at least 50 times a day," McCurdy wrote. "Mom warned me not to get too close to Miranda because she doesn't believe in God."

Even though McCurdy's mother had tried to steer her away from Cosgrove, the two actresses quickly formed a friendship that McCurdy wrote was "a source of camaraderie and emotional support."

7. Jennette's mother would chase her father around their house with a steak knife.

While on "Red Table Talk," McCurdy detailed a troubling incident between her mother and father, where her mom would often chase him around with a steak knife.

"My mom would be chasing my dad around the house with a literal steak knife," McCurdy said.

"And he'd say to her, 'You have to get help. You have to get a handle on this. You can't be doing this.' She wouldn't. She didn't want to change or couldn't face that she needed to change."

She added that " the steak knife thing" happened often. "There were many, many versions of the steak knife and other tools. She would grab sort of whatever was on hand."

8. Jennette admitted that her feelings toward her mother are very complicated.

Despite the years of abuse McCurdy suffered, she says that it doesn't lessen her love toward her troubled mother. 

"Just because I was abused, it doesn't mean that I don't love her," McCurdy said on "Red Table Talk."

"That has been so difficult to grapple with. I feel like it's so hard to not have this guilt complex because it is...this person gave me life."

She continues, "They gave me the ultimate gift. How is there room for such complex feelings toward them? ... I wish it could just be purely love."

When asked if McCurdy would ever be able to forgive her mother, the actress replied: "I worked toward forgiveness for a really long time. And my therapist said to me one day, 'What if you don't have to work toward forgiveness?' And I wept."

"I knew that that was what I needed to hear. Because I had been trying to find a way to still honor my mom."

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Keep up with her on Instagram and Twitter.

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