From a teen in the U.S.: My mother and I constantly fight. Im going to break down basic points that are come across during these fights. She claims that when she yells at me its because I don’t listen. But sometimes I just really don’t hear her. Its annoying because at times she just starts straight away screaming at me – her excuse for it is that its the only way she can get me to listen to her; and to cope with it Ive begun to just quietly say ok, this works in that I can show her that I don’t want to fight but also I don’t like doing it because I back down.
Moreover, we’ve always had screaming matches where I just end up exploding on her because no matter who it is I can’t let anyone scream at me like a crazy person. Im extremely opinionated and am known to have an attitude in my family. But so does my mother. When I try to explain my reasoning for my behavior towards her (that I do it as a defense mechanism because she makes me feel useless) she says she feels the same… We always have one tremendous blow up a year and thankfully we haven’t had it yet this year, but during that, and even sometimes in our regular fights, she says she can change if I tell her whats wrong. When I do it seems like nothing works.
I try and change my behavior but nothing will change my behavior if she doesn’t change hers. All in all what I’m trying to say is that Im over all of this. All of this fighting. We fight at least twice every single day and I shouldn’t have to be counting down the days until I leave for college to get away from this toxic relationship. What can I do to ameliorate the situation?
People don’t have to scream at each other when they disagree. Your mother apparently hasn’t learned how to deal effectively with conflict. You haven’t either. Both of you are at fault at this point. Neither of you knows how to talk so the other will listen or listen so the other can talk sensibly.
The alternative to fighting isn’t to just back down. That’s just another form of the fight. The two of you need to learn how to deal respectfully with each other — and probably with other people — when you need to negotiate something.
I suggest two things: There’s a great book called Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher and William L. Ury. You and your mom could read it together and talk about it. Try out the strategies it suggests.
If you can’t come to a new way to deal with your differences on your own, then make an appointment with a family therapist with the goal of learning that skill. It will help the two of you have a better relationship. Even more important, it will help you have a better relationship with your partner and children some day.
I wish you well.
Unhealthy Fighting Between My Mother and Me
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.
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). Unhealthy Fighting Between My Mother and Me. Psych Central.
Retrieved on November 27, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2016/09/18/unhealthy-fighting-between-my-mother-and-me/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 18 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.