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I Need Help Dealing with My Mother’s Unstable Emotions

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from a teen in the U.S.: Hello. I wanted to speak to someone who may be able to tell me How to deal with my mother, whose emotion are back and forth. I’m in 11th grade and I’m currently working on obtaining my associates degree. My mother is a single mom.

Lately, I find the conversation about what college I want to go to troubling to my mom. Every time I ask her she acts as if shes bothered by the question. Lately, she’s been saying that I do not act old enough to go to college on my own. The problem with that is the fact that there are no college options near me. She uses ignorant arguments to support her claim of not letting me go. For example, when I told her I like bacon on a burger, but not on the side she said that I was stupid for thinking that, and that’s the exact reason why I shouldn’t be going to anyone’s college.

Also, my mom always seems to put down every aspect of my life. I’m 16 and my mom won’t let me do things like get on the internet “because she doesn’t believe in it”, and go shopping at the mall with my friends ” because she says that’s stupid” Also, she never acknowledges the fact that I have ADD. So when I do things that people with ADD are more prone to doing she yells at me and calls me stupid.

Anytime I try to talk to her she just puts down everything I say with arguments that make no sense. For example, one time I talked to her about mom styled jeans, and she told me that mom jeans aren’t a real thing and that I’m just following everything my “white friends” tell me.

One more thing that my mom has been doing is shaming me physically and mentally. She always tells me about how I mess up on everything and I’m gaining weight. This lead to me not eating anything but half a meal a day for 2 weeks. Also, she tells me that I have no common sense which is why I can’t keep up with my college, high school, and housework.

I love my mom, but I’m just tired and overwhelmed by her constant problems that we share. Please give me advice on how to deal with this situation

I Need Help Dealing with My Mother’s Unstable Emotions

Answered by on -


I’m so glad you wrote. The reason you aren’t getting anywhere in your arguments is that you aren’t arguing about the real problem. It looks to me like your mom is having a very difficult time letting you grow up, have your own opinions, and eventually leave home. She may have become too dependent on her role as your mom to envision a life without a child. It may be frightening to her to be on her own when you go to college.

Obviously, developing an eating disorder is not the answer to her criticism. It only hurts you and validates her opinion that you are the problem.

Please stop arguing with her about every little thing. Try to instead have a conversation about how things will change for each of you as you grow up. On your side: Talk about how important it is that you start practicing making your own decisions. Instead of arguing about how ADD effects you, figure out together how you can learn to manage your ADD so you can be successful at school. As for your mom: Ask her to think about the many things she will be able to do once she doesn’t have to organize every day around your needs.

If attempts at a mature conversation go nowhere, you need some outside help. Often adults will listen to other adults better than they listen to their kids. Do talk to your school guidance counselor about whether they can help your mom understand that there is not appropriate college nearby as well as what you need to do now to be successful. Consider seeing a family therapist to help the two of you separate in a way that lets you both feel good about it.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

I Need Help Dealing with My Mother’s Unstable Emotions

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). I Need Help Dealing with My Mother’s Unstable Emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 17 Nov 2018 (Originally: 20 Nov 2018)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 17 Nov 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.