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Why Does My Mom Behave So Irrationally?

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From a young woman in the U.S.:  When my mother has had issues with someone in the past, even if it was almost a decade ago, she’ll state that they have issues and everyone else is just acting like everything is okay when it’s not. She’ll also states things like them being secretly jealous of her and discount that person’s looks in favor of her own. Also, she comes from a heavy Christian background, but when she tends to rant about these things she tends to get very explicit in her verbiage. These people she’s talking about do live rather successful lives and are at least in upper middle class territory. Our family isn’t doing bad, but we are just around middle to slightly lower middle class.

Whenever she goes on these rants she doesn’t always directly mention the person she’s talking about because everyone else already knows what she’s referring to, but she will mention a situation vaguely. Ex. Sally posts about how great her husband is. Mom proceeds to bash women that do this when they’ve stated there dissatisfaction with their husband or relationship far in the past.

Lastly, she doesn’t see any point in losing weight and speaks poorly of people that do saying they look unhealthy afterwards. Also states there’s no point in losing weight even though she has really taken the steps to do so. My dad is making an effort to and her response was,”Why is he trying to lose weight? There’s no point. Either you’re going to lose the weight or you’re not.”

I think this may be some form of denial and projection, but I’m not completely sure.

My mom and dad are apparently going through some issues in there marriage and I think my mom is lashing out with this erratic behaviour as some form of coping mechanism due to her unhappiness. There relationship is lacking “intimacy” from my understanding of the loud arguments that have been had, but my dad isn’t perfect either. It’s just that his behavior is a bit more easy to understand and he’s stubborn. I know this is rather simple compared to some more complicated situations, but still am looking for the correct term for this behaviour.

Why Does My Mom Behave So Irrationally?

Answered by on -


Your mom sounds like a desperately unhappy woman who has lost any sense that she can actively change her lot. She seems to be convinced that any effort to change things will fail so why bother? Since she feels so helpless to improve herself (put herself up), she puts other people down. She can then feel a little better without having to make any effort herself. Ultimately, she knows it’s a sham, which only makes her feel worse. I suspect she meets the criteria for a depression, but I’d need to talk to her to be sure.

The best thing you can do at this point is try to get your parents to see a marriage counselor. Do the research. Find out which local therapists are taking new clients, which ones take your family’s insurance, and whether there are therapists who will start online while the pandemic continues to prevent office visits.

Give your folks the information. Tell them how much you love them and how important it is that they get the help they need to be happier. Stay compassionate with them both. Don’t fight with either of them. (It won’t help.) Do repeat that they need more help than you can give them. Lovingly, persistently, urge them to take care of themselves by seeing someone who can help.

I hope you are focusing on getting on with your own life. At 24, it’s time.

I wish you well.

Dr. Marie

Why Does My Mom Behave So Irrationally?

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. (2020). Why Does My Mom Behave So Irrationally?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 5 Jul 2020 (Originally: 6 Jul 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 5 Jul 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.