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I Don’t Know if My Mother Is Abusive or if It’s Just Me

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I’m writing about this problem because I don’t know if my mother is actually abusive or if what I’m experiencing is just normal. My mother is always blaming me for her feelings. She never apologizes or admits that she is wrong. When I ask her to apologize she becomes mad and starts telling me how disrespectful I am and how many things she does for me. Most of these things are to manipulate me and to try and make my point invalid when I say she is a bad mother. Even though I often pay for these things myself. She never holds a promise or keeps something a secret. In front of other people, she likes to show how inferior I am to her and how much power over me she has (especially when she is drunk). She insults, criticizes and dismisses my opinions, beliefs, friends and interests. When my mother is mad, she always takes it out on me. She drinks almost every day but I don’t think she qualifies as an alcoholic. She doesn’t abuse me physically (even though she used to hit me until the age of 12) but it shows when she wants to. When I was supposed to get taken away from my family at one point, she said that I can just go away. When she found out I was cutting, she was really really mad and blamed everything on me and insulted even though the main reason I was cutting was because of her. My mother wants to know everything about my life but she gets mad when I tell her that I don’t want to talk to her. She doesn’t respect my boundaries and doesn’t care about me being unhappy. She don’t consider ‘no’ as an answer. Why I am doubting my situation, is because I never tried to make my mother happy. I always thought “she never tries to make me happy, so why would I try to live up to her standards?” and “I don’t care if my mother is going to be mad. I will never be good enough for her anyways” but I never actually caused major trouble in school or at home. Maybe I didn’t clean or take out the trash. But my mother always went insane if I didn’t do that. She never listens to me. Is she abusive? Or is it just my fault? (From Sweden)

I Don’t Know if My Mother Is Abusive or if It’s Just Me

Answered by on -


It isn’t just your fault. Thank you for taking the time to write us. Your mother’s drinking, personality, physical and emotional abuse of you are significant. Taken together it shows that the majority of the problem lies with her parenting skills — not you.

I would start by talking to a trusted teacher or counselor at your school. He or she will be in the best position for offering suggestions about what to do next. As a 15 year old your mother needs to be doing a better job. Although you didn’t explain the situation in detail — if you were supposed to be taken away from your family because of your mother’s behavior you may want to contact the people recommending this — they may also be in a position to help.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

I Don’t Know if My Mother Is Abusive or if It’s Just Me

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Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

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: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). I Don’t Know if My Mother Is Abusive or if It’s Just Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 3 Nov 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.