When Mother Doesn't Know Best

When Mother Doesn’t Know Best.

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My mother has absolutely no idea what I am really like. Nor does it seem to bother her. Although I am now middle aged, she still berates me if I don’t sit still when I’m eating and reminds me I was just the same when I was three and she was trying to brush my very curly hair. ‘You’ll never change’ she says almost triumphantly. ‘You just don’t do what you are told. Let’s face it you are just spoilt and wilful.’ She even warned my husband, when we got engaged that I was a trouble maker. He comes from an easy- going, stable family and was absolutely flabbergasted by her comment. Worst of all was telling him I was a slut because I had a lot of boyfriends before I met him. He told me he wouldn’t be able to contain his anger if he saw her and kept away her for several weeks until he felt able to face her again..

When I got pregnant with my first child she told me I would make a ‘terrible mother’ because I was selfish, always put my needs first and couldn’t even keep my bedroom tidy when I lived at home.

We now laugh at her ridiculous comments and both think she’s probably trying to get back at me for something that happened way back in her own life. As far as I’m concerned she makes very little impact on either of us now but my husband still finds her disloyalty to me very unpleasant. Are we right about her being damaged by her past?


Your mother obviously hangs on to minor events from your childhood and still wants to punish you for them. Worse than that she has such a negative view of you as an adult that she has doesn’t mind at all about spoiling your future happiness. It is astonishing that you’ve coped. Not only do you not allow her nasty comments to wound you but find they are so ridiculous they make you laugh. Well done!

It’s no surprise that your husband is appalled by her behaviour and very positive that you discuss together why she might be as she is. It may indeed be something from her own childhood. She could, for example, have had a horrid parent herself - something you might explore with relatives should you want to. Or she may have been very disappointed by her marriage. Nevertheless her own bad experiences are no excuse for her to heap insults on you now. Her own past is, of course, not remotely your fault and rather than take out her frustrations on you she should have tried to be as good a parent as possible.

As your husband finds her meanness to you so hard to manage, you could work out together how you might become less involved with her.