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My Mother Acts Like a Child and Treats Me Like One

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When I was really, really, young, I used to think I had the best mother in the world because she was really funny and kind, although she was quite strict on me about my studies. However, as I grew older and became more mature, I realized that how my mother acts was not normal for someone her age. Whenever she wants my sisters and I to help her with something, she would speak in an incredibly high pitched voice. She also would not ask us for help directly, instead she would say something like ‘If only someone can help me do…’ or ‘We are eating so much today. There would be a lot of dishes to clean’ Most of the time my sisters and I would get the hint and help her around. However, sometimes we would think of it as just a casual statement and my mother would start throwing a huge tantrum. Furthermore, my mother is really insensitive or ignorant about our feelings. She would always call my sister and I fat when my sister and I are actually quite petite for our age. She would also go on a very strict diet and try to compete with us. Like if my sister or I lost any weight (not really on purpose), she would try to lose double of that. My mother would always stand in front of the mirror and just stare at it for a few minutes. Whenever I have any problems that i try to tell her, she would just brush it off or make everything about her. When i told her about some friendship problem i was having, she would be like ‘I had a lot of those when i was young…’ and end of with ‘You know, you’re exactly like me’ and im not trying to be offensive or anything, but i really don’t want to be like her. Even from when i was young, she was always very violent when she was angry and she would break a lot of furniture but i thought that this was a normal adult behavior. I’ve begun reading a lot of books about narcissist but I know its not good to diagnose her using these books. (From Singapore)

My Mother Acts Like a Child and Treats Me Like One

Answered by on -


  Rather than try to diagnose your mother start focusing on what you need to move out of the house and move forward with your life. You have already made the declaration that you do not want to be like your mom in many ways. Now the work is to figure out what you DO want to become. Aiming not to be her can be a good start, but figuring out what kind of life you want to live and what skills to develop is even more important. I’d encourage you to keep moving toward your independence. Diagnosing her, even if it were possible, isn’t likely to help as much as you developing yourself.

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

My Mother Acts Like a Child and Treats Me Like One

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

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). My Mother Acts Like a Child and Treats Me Like One. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 12 Jun 2018 (Originally: 13 Jun 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 12 Jun 2018
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