My Mother Brings Out The Worst In Me


My mother brings out the worst in me. However hard I tell myself I will stay calm and dignified within minutes of being with her I am raging inside.  I have never liked her but it took me until my late teens before I realised  quite how illogical, irrational, spiteful and thoroughly nasty she was.  Can you believe a mother who actually enjoys trying to break her daughter’s spirit, destroy her confidence and put her down? 

Once I reached my mid twenties and took up a career as a marketing manager I had gathered enough confidence to stand my ground. But that didn’t work either as when she shouted at me, I couldn’t help but shout back.  If she criticised me I would do the same to her.  I think she enjoyed the battle.  I hated it.  Outside of my home I was a different person, calm, positive, and sociable.  When I go back I transform into a mini her.  The worst thing of all is that I look so much like her and when I look in the mirror I sometimes cringe.   

On the advice of my friends I stopped seeing her for a few years and she made no attempt to reach out to me.   She never would compromise.  Then I heard that my father was very ill. I visited him as often as I could in hospital, trying but not always succeeding in leaving his bedside when my mother turned up.  After he died I decided to give her a second chance.  I tried my best but I couldn’t take her endless criticism.   I haven’t seen her for nearly three years. Unfortunately I feel guilty and just don’t know what to do.   


You have had to struggle to cope with a critical, unpleasant mother, one who regularly twisted your conversations into a battle, since you were a child.  The only way you coped was by disengaging yourself from her.  We believe that has been the correct position to take.  You were a good daughter to your father but this had no affect on your mother who has continued to be thoroughly unpleasant.    


What exactly do you feel guilty about? Do you think that it’s your fault that she’s been such a horrid parent?  As your difficult parent has shown no sign of changing the way she behaves and you have tried everything you can think of to improve your relationship, the next step is to  think about how best to protect yourself from the overwhelming feelings you have when you are together.  

You owe nothing to an unloving parent.  You have physicallymoved away from her.  You now need to think how to block her from invading your mind. We suggest you accept that you have a difficult mother and find love and comfort with friends. You have developed into the person you want to be so keep your sense of self strong and don’t let anyone try to change it.  

It might help thinking of some coping strategies when thoughts of your mother pop into your mind.  You could try visualising a soothing scene like a  woodland or beach and take ten deep breaths to shift your thoughts.  Also when you look in the mirror make sure you smile at your image and say something like: “I may look like you but in every other way I am the opposite”. Perhaps writing down your experiences will help too. Remember above all that you don’t have to justify how you feel about your mother to anyone.