Competitive Mothers


My mother always wants to be closely involved with what I do and the decisions I make, but I know it is more about her than it is about me. She’s fiercely competitive too, not least because of issues in her own family that has made her feel she’s never achieved her potential.

When I was a child she took every board or card game we played very seriously and never let me win.  She also insisted we ran countless races in the park.  Sometimes the total would be 25 wins to her and 0 to me.  Instead of encouraging me, she then smirked with pleasure.  One of the few things we have in common is watching Bake Off on the television.  I bake every week too and I used to at her request send her photos of what I’d made.  No longer because it spurred her to make something more elaborate and send me a picture in return.

My husband, who I love, was the first man to propose to me and ever since we got engaged she’s reminded me several times that she had lots of proposals and I know she is trying to denigrate me because I only had one. . If my husband and I go on a holiday she goes somewhere she claims is smarter and she will stay longer.  I’ve noticed too that she is now copying my hairstyle, boasting that hers looks more stylish because she has thicker hair.

I don’t mind or even care what she wants to do, but her relentless competitiveness is undermining and I wish she would just leave me alone to live my life as I want to.


A good way to deal with her competitiveness is to remove yourself from the game so she can’t compete with you.  You can also try to keep the conversation more general rather than let it revolve around what you do.  When she does make an unkind comparison, perhaps about your holiday say: “Your holiday sounds fun and we are absolutely delighted with ours.” Then change the subject.

You could also accept that she won’t change and instead be happy with the choices you and your husband make. Be delighted that you met your husband easily without having to go through lots of broken relationships.