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Why Does My Mom Go through Cycles Where she is Abusive?

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From a young man in the U.S.: It seems like every summer my parents start arguing. At first, we thought it was just normal married problems but when we got older we realized that every summer my mom’s attitude flips and this time has been the worst. While my dad, of course, is not completely innocent my mom seems to be having mental problems that are the basis for the arguing.

My mom gets really hyper to the point where it’s scary watching her. she can’t concentrate on a single task and will often walk around and stand on her bad legs all day because she cant sit still. she will go a couple days without sleep then when she does fall asleep it’s like her mind is still moving too fast so she talks in her sleep but in a scary sort of way. during the day she is very verbally abusive to mainly me and my dad, but sometimes my sister. she goes around the house cursing and telling us that we are evil, lazy and stupid. she purposely tries to argue with my dad. he would be sleeping and she would go wake him up to yell at him and get him riled up.

My dad gave up with trying to have a relationship with her at this point by being as passive and nice as possible but she still is abusive. One night my dad and my mom had a bad argument and my mom ended up hitting my dad several times my dad pinned her arms to the sofa and told her to stop hitting him and she called the cops. no charges were filled. I reached out to family and got 2 of my aunts and my grandma to come for an intervention because she has had a history of mental problems from a bad childhood. To top it off she also has a medical condition that is affecting her hormones. during the intervention, my mom was as always a brick wall nothing at all got through.

I’m tired of living like this. my mom needs help. when you look into her eyes you can tell she’s not there. She has no reasoning skills and does’t understand what she is doing. I don’t know what to do. anytime I bring up getting help she tells me that we are the sick ones, not her. Thank you

Why Does My Mom Go through Cycles Where she is Abusive?

Answered by on -


I’m so, so sorry your mother has been so ill for so long. You didn’t indicate when this started. But you did provide enough information for me to suggest a thorough evaluation by both a medical doctor and a psychiatrist. It could be that her medical condition is contributing to this behavior. It’s also possible that she has a significant mental illness that shows up periodically. I can’t make a diagnosis on the basis of only a short letter, of course. But I can tell you that since she has good periods as well as bad ones, we might want to look at a bipolar diagnosis.

It’s up to your dad and the rest of the family (grandmother and aunts) to insist that she get evaluated. She is not likely to listen to you as she sees you as her child. I do suggest that your father look into what is involved in your state for her to be involuntarily signed in to a psychiatric hospital if she again becomes irrational and physically abusive. It may be the only way she gets the help she needs.

I wish you all well,
Dr. Marie

Why Does My Mom Go through Cycles Where she is Abusive?

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). Why Does My Mom Go through Cycles Where she is Abusive?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 23 Oct 2018 (Originally: 24 Oct 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 23 Oct 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.