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Mother’s Out-of-Control Emotional Abuse

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From India: I am married and now pregnant. I came to my mom’s house for delivery of my first baby. My eldest sister left her husband and is awaiting a divorce. My mom seems to be really disturbed by my sister’s presence, especially because of her 10 year old kid who has not been taught anything related to good manners. My mom wakes up at 5 am in the morning and throws tantrums and tries to wake my sister up so she could help her in the kitchen. My sister is an adamant and lazy woman. She yells at mom for every other reason. In between these two women who cannot speak their heart without using proper words, it seems like I’m sandwiched. But it seems more like an issue with my mother because her anxiety to get things done immediately is affecting my niece a lot. I’m in my 3rd trimester and my mom seems to be a devil! Uncontrollable emotional torture is what I can say. My sister’s husband was abusive and she came home to be at peace but I don’t think it’s a good thing.

My mother is never happy about anything. If we try to entertain her with movies, she hates them. Try to play some music, it needs to be according to her mood. When I scream, I feel pathetic. I feel that someone’s gonna commit suicide soon at home. It’s like a free psycho living at home. I’m exhausted and I don’t trust my mother any more. I wish I could record a video and send it for you to see! It’s abuse for sure. Unless everyone goes crazy and starts screaming or crying or goes vulnerable, she doesn’t calm down.

If she wants respect, is this the way? If this is what parenting is about, it is sick. Abuse isn’t right. Is it? Now she even hits my niece who is merely anything yelling and overpowering their own children, who are adults??
There’s not even a single day when anyone in the house had a peace of mind, forget about sleeping well. My doctor has restricted travel. I wish I could go back to my home now but seems like it’s late. I’m so angry, sad and feeling crazy at the same moment. All my mother wants is a reaction from us. When we all cry, she is the happiest!


Mother’s Out-of-Control Emotional Abuse

Answered by on -


¬†What a sad, sad situation. You and your sister both went “home” to your mother to have a safe place. Instead, you are all living in chaos.

As I read your letter, I had to wonder if your mother really wanted such long term guests. It could be that she felt she couldn’t say no to the two of you. She may be overwhelmed by the addition of three more people to her home. It may be that she is saying “no” by making it impossible for you and your sister to stay there. If that is the case, it is unfortunate indeed that you all don’t have the kind of relationship where she can just say it’s too much or where all of you could sit down and figure out how to make it manageable for her.

You also didn’t mention how old your mother is and whether this is new behavior. If she is getting on in years, you may be seeing the emergence of a medical condition or dementia. Do consider taking her for an appointment with her doctor to make sure she is medically okay.

That being said: There is no reason for you and your sister to scream just because your mother is screaming. It doesn’t help the situation. In fact, it only makes it worse. It doesn’t solve the problems and it exhausts you both. It is also a terrible role model for the 10-year-old who is watching all of you and learning how she is supposed to act while with family. Not good.

Just because others invite you to be irrational doesn’t mean you have to accept their invitation. Instead, you could say something like, “I can’t hear you when you get loud. When you want to talk with me quietly to solve the problems, let me know and I’ll be glad to be part of the conversation.” Then leave. When things calm down, invite your mom and sister to have a reasonable talk about how to make the current living situation workable.

Please don’t wait for others to change for you to get the peace you need to have a good last trimester. Take charge of your own part in the family dynamics. Change your reactions and withdraw when you need to. Take yourself to another room. Take a nap. Take a walk. If the other women won’t work on making things better at least you can take yourself out of it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

Mother’s Out-of-Control Emotional Abuse

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). Mother’s Out-of-Control Emotional Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 5, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 25 Sep 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.