I Have Uncontrollable Anger Toward My Mother

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From Paris: I have an abandonment issue, my mother used to ignore me since childhood to adulthood, she preferred paying attentions to my brothers instead. Now I’m an adult, and my brothers have had enough of her attention, she’s turning her attention to me: always telling me to pay attention to my body, always giving critics to everything I do. Now, whenever she starts talking to me, I have this uncontrollable and sudden anger, when I told her, “how dare u to pay attention to me just now, where were you when I was a child?” and she got confused, as if she couldn’t find anything wrong with it. It’s impossible for me to have a normal conversation with her, and if we’re alone together, I’d prefer locking myself away. I don’t know how to let her understand that it’s too late to pay attention to me now, and I can’t accept any her opinions about me and my life. I feel like she’s a total stranger to me. I just want her to leave me alone, like she used to. And when I ignored all her calls and messages, she immediately contacted all her friends to go check on me, and I was like, WTH?! I’m ashamed of her attitude.
I don’t know what should I do…..

A: I’m sorry you didn’t get the mother every child deserves when you were young. It’s sad and certainly angry making. But it’s also true that you do now have a choice that you didn’t have when you were young and dependent. You can forgive the past and try to make a relationship with who she is now. Or — since that seems unlikely to be positive — you can learn to remove yourself emotionally from her even if you have to stay somewhat connected.

As it is now, you are giving her too much negative control. All she has to do is be critical and you get upset. She decides not to understand and you end up frustrated and even more upset. Her behavior doesn’t deserve that much of your attention and energy. I hope you can learn how to contact her just enough that she doesn’t hunt you down but not so much that her comments touch you. All they are are words. They don’t matter unless you let them matter. The only opinions that deserve your attention are your own and those of people who love you and who have your best interests at heart.

It isn’t easy to take emotional distance from a parent. A therapist can give you support and can help you learn how to take care of yourself when your mother is too intrusive. I hope you will also befriend some older women who will love you for who you are and who will provide you with the guidance we’d all like to have from the wise women in our lives.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 26 Apr 2014

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2014). I Have Uncontrollable Anger Toward My Mother. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/04/26/i-have-uncontrollable-anger-toward-my-mother/

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