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I Have a Tough Relationship with My Mother

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Ever since I turned 12, my mother and I have been constantly fighting. Two times, it has gotten physical and I was left in shock, while several others have left me with a panic attack. I am currently on a hormone balancing medication, and earlier in the year we fought, and it was the second time it got physical but we spoke it out and we got better. Recently, since I started my medication, I feel very sensitive to my environment. Usually, when my mom and I fight she ends up speaking to my dad telling him how I am the worst possible daughter anyone could have asked for she speaks very loudly so that I hear the insults. I have learned to ignore and cope with my emotions any time we get in an altercation, and I know and admit some of the fights could have been my fault but I also recognize that I have changed and grown as a person and it hurts me that she only labels me as a rude and bad human being. I also feel like whenever we have a “stable” little period, I like to talk to her about what is currently going on at school (because I changed schools), but then during fights, she lashes out and uses anything I have told her against me, friends or things we have discussed and I have let out and that pushes me away and makes me be sort of an anxiously attached person. It is a cycle where we get better, we talk and then something triggers a fight and the world falls on my shoulders. I feel helpless but I remain strong and I don’t want my little sister to grow up hearing us scream and fight all the time.

I just want to have a healthy relationship with her. I hate the fighting and the bad memories and that I have from her and I just want it to stop. It breaks me. I have tried to talk about it with her and it’s a dead end. She’s closed off in her thoughts about her evil oldest daughter. Please help me figure this out. I want the cycles and patterns and circles to end. I want the rivalry to end. I want a stable thing. Something where she can talk to me. Please help. (From Honduras)

I Have a Tough Relationship with My Mother

Answered by on -

A.

I deeply admire the courage to talk about the transition you’ve gone through and the issues at home. Your mother’s poor behavior with you is unfortunate, but I believe trying to directly focus on her would miss the opportunity to get your father more involved.

By your father not challenging your mother he is not protecting you. When your mother goes to him to complain about you — does it in a way that is designed to make you feel guilty, and your father just lets this happen indicates that your father needs to be encouraged to take more a protective stand for you.

I’d begin by finding ways to connect with your father. Talk to him about what is happening at school. If your mother isn’t a stable ally in the family do what you can to make that person your father. In building the relationship you may not only t=strengthen the bond between the two of you, but you may also be cultivating support that can be used when your mother takes to calling you names.

By developing a relationship with him you are attempting to bring and effective balance back into your life. This should be of help to not only you but also your sister.

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

I Have a Tough Relationship with My Mother

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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: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2020). I Have a Tough Relationship with My Mother. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2020/04/29/i-have-a-tough-relationship-with-my-mother/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 28 Apr 2020 (Originally: 29 Apr 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 28 Apr 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.