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All My Life I’ve Been Criticized by My Mother

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From the U.S.: Hi. This story has been in the making most of my life and seems a vicious circle that I cannot solve to both our liking & to my annoyance. All my life, I have felt mostly ignored & criticized by my mother. She came here from Europe at 21 after meeting my American father in Europe and marrying here. They were educated, but, I feel, “missed” the 60’s revolution and both seemed a little “square.” They also seemed to have learned much, but I always felt a little deprived for some reason.

I am the eldest of two sisters (2 yrs apart), and my father seemed to handle that well, and I found he usually defended me to my mother & to her dislike. I am much like both of them, and see many of my mother’s traits in myself, so I’d like some credit, besides having finished my BA degree and worked since being chased from the home at 26 yoa.

Because of that, I’ve always held a grudge to my mom, though over time, we had a few good moments. My younger sister seems to have always been able to get away with doing everything the way she wanted; not helping around the house, cracking jokes at my expense, not working as much and hanging out at my parents’ more. My mother even defends her when she’s not around, and at my expense also, and tells me I’m ‘jealous’ when she defends her, even if my sister is wrong, such as showing up late for an arranged dinner and calling to say she’ll even be later and to ‘wait up’ for her, etc., etc.

Over time, my sister has gotten even more critical and mean to me, though when she feels like it, she changes that, or when she’s like a favor, like a little money, etc. My mom seems to be easily swayed however. At first, she thought I was ‘successful’ working full-time and owning my condo. She would tell me on the side that my sister just ‘was like that’, which I refused to believe. My mom & I have constant arguments and she’s written me off permanently for speaking my mind. I resent it, but still want some relationship. She feels we argue b/c I’m single. Maybe, but I’m rational. It’s her also. Please suggest. Thx!

All My Life I’ve Been Criticized by My Mother

Answered by on -


I don’t have enough information to make sense of how your mother treats you. It’s always sad to me when a parent isn’t able to show love and support to all of her or his children. There may be a secret that influences her behavior. She may have not wanted to have a child so young. She may see something in you that reminds her of someone who gave her pain in the past. She may not even know what it is that puts her on edge with you.

But regardless of the reason, you have suffered about this far too long. You are 53. You have done your best to connect with your mother in more positive ways. I think you can stop working so hard on the project at this point. Love her as best you can for who she is, and stop trying to change her or the relationship. The same for your relationship with your sister. Revisiting the old arguments only annoys them and disappoints you.

Instead, focus your energy on finding and maintaining a group of friends who respect and care about each other and who enjoy spending time together. Such a group can be a family of your own creation. By all means, stay in touch with your biological family but draw your need for nurturing and being nurtured with good friends.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

All My Life I’ve Been Criticized by My Mother

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). All My Life I’ve Been Criticized by My Mother. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 10 Jul 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.