Home » Ask the Therapist » How Do I Forgive My Mom?

How Do I Forgive My Mom?

Asked by on with 1 answer:

From a teen girl in the U.S.:  My mom had lied to me for 3 years about this guy she was seeing. She even had me lie to my Dad and my Aunt about where she would be. My parents only just told me that they had gotten the divorce in April and they told me in May after my semester of college ended.

My mom knew how much I trusted her and how much I loved her, and she took advantage of that, it makes me sick to my stomach that my own mom would do that to me, and it eats me up inside everyday. She lied to my face every single day for 3 years. What she’s done has made my anxiety so bad, I puke when I start to get an anxiety attack.

So far my mom has never apologized to me on her own terms, the only time she did was when I brought it up to her. She comes around me like she did nothing wrong.

I called her out on all of the stuff again today, because it’s hard listening to her criticize my life, especially because of what she has done to me. She told me that she heard that my fiance was working part time, and she told me that she heard it from my cousin, who hasn’t even talked to her in a year. She told me it was hard for her to lie to my face every single day but it came so easily out of her mouth when she said it to my face during her affair, and it was just as easy to make up the lie she said about her talking to my cousin.

I even had a surgery on my shoulder and she took my pain meds to give to her drug addict boyfriend and his mom. So meanwhile I was in pain and she felt like they needed it more than I did.

I just feel like there are some things that I can’t forgive her for. I don’t even like having her around, all she does is criticize me and it tears me down. My anxiety has peak and my depression is getting worse again to the point I’ve thought about cutting myself. I just don’t know what to do anymore

How Do I Forgive My Mom?

Answered by on -


I’m sorry you are having such a hard time. But I don’t think the way out of your anxiety and depression is to try to make your mother be someone she isn’t. I don’t have enough information to understand why your mother lies and criticizes you and, especially, why on earth she would take your medication. But I don’t have to understand her. Nothing I say will make her change. Nothing you do will either.

So let’s look at what you can do to help yourself. You are now 18, a time when it is important to be working on yourself to get ready to be on your own. Clearly the anxiety and depression you struggle with isn’t going to help you launch into adulthood as successfully as you would like. Since you can’t count on your mom to help you, it’s long past time to find people who can.

First, do look for other role models for adult behavior. Kids like yourself often find the support, wisdom, and advice they need from someone other than their parents. I hope you have an older woman relative, a teacher, a coach, or the mom of a good friend to talk to.

Second: Please do consider getting some therapy. Anxiety and depression are treatable. There is no need to live with it. Cutting obviously only adds another problem to the ones you already have.

If your school has a counseling center, start there. They may offer some therapy or they may keep a list of free or low cost mental health services in the area. If they can’t help, tell your mother that you need help with your anxiety and ask her whether your family health insurance covers therapy. (You are more likely to get somewhere with this request if you don’t angrily tell her that your anxiety is all her fault. Just say that you know you need some help and leave it at that.) If so, the insurance company probably has a list of approved providers. If not, your doctor can also probably refer you to services.

In the meantime, be the mother to yourself that your mom can’t be. Make sure you are treating yourself better than your mother is. Do some self-care. Eat well. Get 8 hours of sleep a night. Get outside regularly. Learn a self-calming method like meditation. You can also read books and do the exercises in workbooks that provide ways to handle anxiety and depression.

You might find it helpful to join one of the forums here at Psych Central. People from all over the world offer each other support and help. Although it isn’t a substitute for therapy, it can be reassuring to know that you are not alone and people often have good practical advice.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

How Do I Forgive My Mom?

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). How Do I Forgive My Mom?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Aug 2020 (Originally: 15 Aug 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Aug 2020
Published on Psych All rights reserved.