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Does My Mother Have Issues Beyond OCD?

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From the Netherlands: What’s wrong with my mom? I’m trying to get to the bottom of it. Label it kind of so I exactly understand.

She was diagnosed by one psychiatrist with OCD (I haven’t ever been). She has switched and swapped psychiatrists many times before. She over-reacts to small things. Cutting people off over small things. Manifests over small things. If someone didn’t thank her for something one time, it must mean it was on purpose to her, and she wants to cut them off. I’ve seen rages before, nasty ones, but no one else has, apart from her mother. She has fallen out with the entire family, bullies my dad (as I call it), he sticks up for all of her ‘delusional’ thoughts, and she gets him to defend in every case.

Very suspicious, lacks what I would say is empathy (doesn’t think twice about cutting someone off over something so small). Hard to get on with, do something not to her liking or something wrong, and it could end the relationship. “I’ll never forgive them for what they have done to me” “There behaviors is unacceptable” Goes on and on will never let past issues drop. Cannot forgive easily.

When growing up I witnessed a variety of rages. She always said that she’d send me to boarding school as a threat if I did something wrong (what she classed as wrong). The real problem as well is that I’ve believed this attitude to be true, and it’s left me with many issues with confidence. Learning to cut people off over small things as the right thing to do or meet issues with rage and aggression.

I remember growing up she smashed a gaming console down the stairs that my dad brought back for me because she didn’t like the size of it. Trying to crash the car when I was in the back over a row with my dad, trying to grab the steering wheel and bring it to on-coming traffic.

So, I don’t personally believe this is all ‘OCD’. Can you tell me what this is please? It’s driving me crazy, and I’m not sure how to react when she’s saying she’s angry at someone because they said “this or that”. It’s a joke. Once upon a time I believed, however, it’s happened so many times that I know everyone else ISN’T the problem, but she HAS the PROBLEM.

Does My Mother Have Issues Beyond OCD?

Answered by on -


Your mother is fortunate, indeed, to have a son who is interested in understanding rather than simply rejecting her. Her behavior must have been very hard on you and your father while you were growing up. Please understand that her attitudes toward you have nothing to do with you personally. She is caught up in her own issues.

I can’t ethically make a diagnosis on the basis of a letter alone. However, knowing what you have told us, if I were to see her, I would be evaluating her for Borderline Personality Disorder. Someone with BPD has difficulty regulating emotions and has unstable relationships, often going to extremes, loving someone, then cutting them off for minor offenses. I suggest you search the internet for more information about BPD and see if it fits.

Regardless of the “label”, your mother has been in deep distress most of her life. She needs help beyond what she has been getting. I suspect it will be difficult for her to stay with one mental health provider for the same reason that it is difficult for her to stick with a friend. If the provider says something she doesn’t like, she will probably leave.

If your mother will let you, I encourage you to accompany her to an appointment so that you can clearly, but gently, inform the provider of this long-standing pattern of behavior. That will help the provider know how to approach her and work with her.

Meanwhile, you have issues of your own that are grounded in an unstable relationship with your mom. You are now almost 30. You are not dependent on her as a mirror for who you are. I hope you will take care of yourself and get the therapy you need to help you claim a personal identity that is more confident.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Does My Mother Have Issues Beyond OCD?

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). Does My Mother Have Issues Beyond OCD?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 1 Jul 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.