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Home » Ask the Therapist » I Don’t Know How to Repair the Relationship Between Me and My Mom

I Don’t Know How to Repair the Relationship Between Me and My Mom

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From a teen in Canada: When I was younger, my mom and I used to get along great. I don’t mean just the regular every little girl gets along with her mom. She’d always be on my side whenever my dad would yell at me unfairly, and she was always the first to defend me. And when I got diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when I was twelve, she was so supportive.

However, over the past year or so, all that has changed. Every time I make a mistake, she’s on my back about it. I’m getting less than a 85 average, she grounds me. I disagree with her or something she’s said, all of a sudden she’s calling me defensive and easily insulted. If my first thought isn’t to go help her with whatever she’s doing, I’m lazy, and if I need some money for a school function or if I don’t want to give up the TV to my little brother every time he asks, I’m selfish. We get into fights all the time now, and I’m not sure what I can change to make things better.

My little brother blames me when she’s in a bad mood because of the fights. My dad divorced her years ago, so he’s rarely around to help me out, and my step-dad refuses to get involved most times, and when he does, he’s always threatening to punish me or something (earlier this week, he told me that if I don’t stop giving her attitude, he’d take my laptop outside and drive over it with his truck).

I know I’m far from the perfect daughter, but is there anything specific I can change? After high school, my mother has insisted that I move in with her instead of going into the residence at my university (she doesn’t think I’m responsible enough) or continuing to switch between her and my dad’s house every few weeks, and I don’t want to spend the next couple of years of my life getting into constant fights with her.
Is there advice you can give me at all?

I Don’t Know How to Repair the Relationship Between Me and My Mom

Answered by on -

A.

 

A: I’m impressed that you want to fix your relationship instead of just going away angry.

I wish I had a better idea of what changed since you were small. I can only guess that your mother sees you on the brink of adulthood and is very anxious that you won’t be able to handle being out in the world on your own. Is it possible that she has doubled down in correcting you in order (in her mind) to get you ready to be on your own? Her tactics aren’t working. But her intentions just might be honorable.

You didn’t mention whether you have had a mature, honest talk with her about what has changed. Have you been able to approach her calmly, without anger, to talk about your relationship and your future? Such a conversation is likely to go better if you are able to approach it from a position of curiosity and concern, rather than upset and anger.

There is absolutely no reason to fight with her. Fighting only indicates to your mother that you are immature. Even if what she says invites you to fight, you don’t have to accept the invitation. If things start to get heated, end the conversation gracefully. Instead of getting mad, say something like, “I’ll have to think about what you said” or “Your perspective is important to me. I’ll think about it.” Then do think about it. Under her anger may be fear or anxiety and/or valid points. When you are calm and have thought it through, ask her if you can go back to the conversation.

In the meantime, do all you can to show yourself to be the mature, thoughtful and competent person you know yourself to be.

I do suggest you do some homework before having further discussions about where you will live next year. If finances are part of the problem, is there a way for you to get some financial help? Many schools have work-study jobs or employment opportunities to help with expenses. In addition, find out what support services are available for people with Aspergers. Come up with a financial plan as well as a plan for using services. Then present your plan to your folks. That will shift the conversation from being an argument to a mature conversation about how you can be successful living at school.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Don’t Know How to Repair the Relationship Between Me and My Mom

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). I Don’t Know How to Repair the Relationship Between Me and My Mom. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/06/24/i-dont-know-how-to-repair-the-relationship-between-me-and-my-mom/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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