I’m 15 years old and I live in a well-off lifestyle with my parents and three other sisters. This summer me and my family moved from Connecticut — after 10 years — to Utah. Since the move there have been major issues that escalate in our family unit. However, one of them is particularly overwhelming. I have understood time and again the science and basic things behind menopause, but never truly embraced it. Because facing it who would? My mother keeps on telling me that she has finished menopause, but I can never shake the feeling that I need to make excuses for her mood swings. When her mood swings started she would usually apologize and I would say “it’s ok” every. single. time. However, not that we moved the mood swings come more often, more ferocious, and never actually go away. Fights have escalated to the point where she has stood in front of me and told me to go “fuck myself” I would then just stand there baffled while she continued to scream. To cool off I would get out of the house and walk my dogs for as long as I could. Getting back home she pouts and ignored me until my father comes home and she starts complaining about how I am “so disrespectful” and “should be punished.” As you can see, her plans never involve confronting me and trying to work things out.
I don’t know what to do anymore or how to act around her. I feel as though she is a ticking time bomb about to explode and I’m always the person in the line of fire. With the pressures of grades and all of the other problems I face at home all I can do is count down the days until I leave for college and never have to walk back into that house. Thank you for reading this and I hope there can be anything resolve our differences.
Thanks for your thoughtful letter. This is a tough one because you are caught in the middle of something that you have very little control over. At 15 you are not going to be able to manage all the family dynamics. Whatever is going on for your mom isn’t something you created or can cure. But you can be clear about limits.
I would first talk to your high school counselor about what is happening. In order to deal with your mom you need some support, and the counselor is the first person you can talk to about this. Additionally, here is a free hotline for you to call that will put you in touch with a counselor who will guide you through the next steps to get support, and how to deal with mom when it happens again.
Your mother telling you to “fuck off” isn’t ok in any instance, and you need to have enough support around you so that the next time it happens you can confront her. Verbal abuse by a parent isn’t acceptable. Her blaming you and not seeing her role in this will mean you need support to help yourself. The counselor and the hotline should help.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). ‘Menopausal’ Mother. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 19, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/12/29/menopausal-mother/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 29 Dec 2014) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.