How to Deal With Difficult Parents

Finding ways to deal with difficult parents will help you settle into peace and happiness – for perhaps the first time in your life. These tips are for adult children who want to move past their unhappy childhoods.

How to Deal With Difficult ParentsAre your difficult parents toxic and hurtful? Are they causing you extreme amounts of pain? Read Cutting Loose: An Adult’s Guide to Coming to Terms with Your Parents by Howard Halpern.

One of my favorite quotes about coping with difficult parent is, “If it’s not one thing, it’s my mother.” Another is: “Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy,” said Robert A. Heinlein. Easy childhoods can set you up to falter in adulthood because you haven’t learned the necessary life skills. But, having difficult parents can certainly set you back, too.

And here are three ways to move past an unhappy childhood, based on my experience with my parents.

How to Deal With Difficult Parents

Note that these tips are more psychological than practical. If you’re looking for practical tips for caring with parents with age-related memory loss or health issues, read 10 Tips for Caring for Parents With Dementia.

Some moms are more apt to boil rabbits and stalk married men (like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction) than balance a successful white-collar job with a nurturing home life (like Claire Huxtable). Adult children of difficult parents need to know how to build good relationships with them anyway — even if we have a mother-in-law who doesn’t accept us — or we suffer the consequences.

I know firsthand what it’s like to deal with difficult parents; I’ve learned to love my mother, who has struggled with schizophrenia for most of my life (which made for a very unhappy childhood for me). If you’re the adult child of an alcoholic, mentally ill, or toxic parent – these suggestions may help you connect with them and and help you move past your own unhappy childhood.

Remember: even the most unorthodox childhood can be a springboard to success – depending on your attitude and perspective!

Become Aware of Your Feelings

“When we’re not aware of what we’re feeling, the feeling becomes the master,” writes Sue Patton Thoele in The Courage to be Yourself. “A repressed or suppressed emotion builds up power until it’s impossible to contain and, as a result, erupts destructively.”

Take resentment, for instance. Maybe you feel rejected because your mother smothers you or keeps “lending” thousands of dollars to your brother. Maybe your mom nags you to lose weight, get married, clean your house, or get your hair out of your eyes (oh, to have a normal mother!). Avoiding your feelings of anger or resentment does pay off – otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Avoiding your feelings is easier, less painful, and requires less energy — in the short run.

In the long run, however, swallowing your feelings about your unhappy childhood or you’re struggles to deal with difficult parents can lead to anxiety, depression, physical illnesses, and unhealthy relationships. Violent eruptions become more likely, such as emotional meltdowns over computer glitches and screaming fits over lost keys. If you’re coping with controlling parents as an adult child, you need to find healthy ways to express your feelings.

Accept Your Feelings

Knowing and accepting your feelings brings freedom and a stronger connection with difficult parents. As an adult child, simply saying out loud, “It aggravates me when mom tells me how to discipline my kids!” can be liberating.

Resisting your feelings makes them stronger; accepting your feelings makes them manageable. Talk about difficult parents: when I was in high school my mother regularly visited me at lunch – she had long scraggly hair and wore dirty, baggy street-person clothes. I fought my humiliation and embarrassment for years and those feelings grew, just like compound interest.

When I couldn’t swallow my pain anymore (it was leaking out in self-destructive ways), I finally let myself simply feel my despair. And it was bad, but then the feelings became less strong. Now, it’s easier to connect with my difficult mom because…

It is what it is.

Practice Forgiveness

How to Deal With Difficult Parents

How to Deal With Difficult Parents

Oprah recently said that forgiveness is releasing the hope that things could have been different. True forgiveness is realizing the gift in a bad childhood – and learning from it. Every experience you’ve had makes you who you are and makes you more yourself. Your unique personality and spirit wouldn’t be yours if you had different parents or siblings – even if you got a bad deal. Coping with difficult parents is easier when you accept and let go of the past. Sometimes that means letting go of someone you love.

Forgiveness is easier when you accept that your parents did the best they could. You need to accept them for who they are, and remember that you can’t change them. The only person you can change is yourself. Sometimes, accepting this can be a great way to deal with difficult parents.

If you have thoughts on coping with difficult parents, please comment below. I can’t offer advice, but it may help you to share your experience.

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May you find healthy ways to deal with your difficult parents, and remain close to them.

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215 Responses

  1. Tony says:

    I enjoyed your article. I’m 40 and my mom drives me crazy. If I go out of town she tells me not to leave the hotel because the city I am living in is dangerous. The city where we both live has more crime per capita than the cities I travel. I could have moved to a different city and been a lot happier but she started acting hysterical. She’s a hypocrite as she and my dad live in different cities from my grandparents. I could leave but she will throw such a stink and she need help with some financial and tax matters. She can’t explain it well so I have to see the documents she is talking about.

    Everytime I see she calls it makes me angry and hearing her voice makes me angry. I know I have to release what could have been but its hard sometimes. I’m glad I moved out a long time ago and at least have separation from her. I could forgive her for the past if she still didn’t everyone like a child. My older sister won’t even have contact with her. My brother is 43 and lives with her. He’s a nice guy but she’s crippled his confidence as she is so overprotective. I had to get pretty angry and stern with her when I left home. Even when she phones I will limit the calls to less than 30 seconds.
    I know its wrong to feel this way and I pray to god for strength until he opens up new opportunities. I have conflicting feelings as she is my mother and my dad died about 10 years ago but I also resent her quite a bit. Its hard not to wonder on what could have been if she was somewhat normal.

  2. Laurie says:

    Dear Sara,

    It sounds like this will be a very difficult decision for you – to put distance between you and your mom. It’ll also affect your son, and your other family relationships. I can’t give advice on this, because I’m not a counselor and I don’t know your or your full story. I encourage you to think about talking with a professional counselor, and getting guidance as you seek to detach from your mom in a healthy way.

    Have you read any books on coping with difficult parents, and learning how healthy boundaries work? If you haven’t read any of the Boundaries books, I encourage you to pick one up. They are awesome, especially for people who need help coping with difficult parents after years and even decades of problems.

    I’m sorry I can’t be more helpful. My prayer for you is that you find wisdom and strength within yourself, and that you lean on God for faith and energy. May you nurture your own emotional and spiritual health so you can stay strong for your son and fiance, and may you learn how to set and maintain healthy boundaries with your mom. I also pray that you find the right resources and people to help you navigate your relationship with your family thoughtfully and carefully.


  3. Sara says:

    Hi Laurie,

    I read your article today and it was very helpful. I have a family with multiple toxic members. Unfortunately one of this is my mother. I have been able to distance myself from everyone by making a move to a different state. Since I never told any of them it was to get distance from all the negativity most were “ok” with the move. Over the 8 years I have been “separated” yet still in contact, (holidays, phone calls with mum and sis mostly) my mother was diagnosed with MS. I have tried many times to help her in the struggle of MS, but as a person with negative outlook on life and unwillingness to do much but complain, it has been extremely hard to help. And it seems now that the illness is being used as a tool in shaming, verbal abuse, and negativity. Any help I have tried to give never seems to be good enough.
    She has an extremely large attachment to my 13 year old son. This was never a problem for me, because unlike with me and everyone else in the family she has always been very loving and positive to him. He seems to be the only person she trusts or thinks is good enough. However this also means she shares details about my life, and very adult things not about my life that she shouldn’t be sharing. Allows him to watch movies and do things he shouldn’t etc. I have been telling myself for about two years that this was a problem I could control because we live so far away and my son only visits a few times in the year. But since a recent extended visit to our home of hers I have realized I cannot control it and she isn’t a good influence. While she was visiting she managed to convince my son that I was keeping him away from his family and that the only way to be close is to live close. She also told him he didn’t have to go to his school if he didn’t want to. And kept feeding him lines like Are you sure you want to be here? Is your school in the city too hard for you? Don’t you miss your family? My son is a happy friendly boy, who happened to work very hard and was accepted into Boston Latin Academy. Its the kind of education a parent dreams to be able to provide. It has been a little tough, but mostly in that 7th grade just started and yes your teachers do expect you to turn your homework in kind of a way. We talk about the school often and he seems happy. I don’t understand why she feels the need to confuse him.
    As far as the MS goes I have even recently moved into a bigger apartment with my son and fiancé to make sure we have an extra room so she can stay. Massachusetts has better healthcare and doctors than where she lives in FL. She won’t come stay, and won’t stop badgering me for being here, and refuses to see why I would stay in a big city. I stay because I have excellent job, my son has a great home and school, and opportunities every day he would not have anywhere else.

    My original move was to put some distance between those in my family who are set out to destroy themselves and others around, gossip, belittle, and spew negativity while popping Xanax as if that makes it ok. Now I stay where I am because it is the best thing for my family. Over the weekend she almost didn’t put my son on the plane home from Florida. That was a straw for me. I now feel the best thing to do is really distance myself from the toxic family scene. How do I explain this to my son who especially loves my mother? My sister lives with her, which means I also can no longer see her, and honestly she buys into what my mom always says, so not talking to my mom anymore will also mean not seeing my sister, or my nephew.

    Any thoughts people out there?


    She and my sister live together. My sister is not toxic but seemingly starting to really buy into the guilt, lies, shame, gossip, and negativity put out by my mother and aunts and uncles. I have realized that the best thing for me to do is

  4. Pat says:

    My parents raised their family in the greatest era of prosperity this country has ever seen, the years after WW11. This was when the power of the dollar was at it’s peak. They built 4 new houses for themselves, bought new cars every year & inherited houses & 10’s of thousands of dollars from their parents, along with living in a most prosperous era. They made our lives miserable with their violent & oppressive ways & didn’t leave us a dime when they died. We were very good children & took care of them in their old age etc, etc. I feel cheated, and our lives, my brother & sister & mine were ruined by their craziness. We still suffer from their abuse. What greedy thoughtless parents. Then they had the gall to put Parents of so & so on their tombstone. I feel like chiseling my name off their tombstone since we were treated like possessions & abused. They have NO right to advertise my name on their tombstone continuing their ownership of me. I am heartbroken & extremely pissed off to have had such oppressive, greedy parents. They used to brag about spending our inheritance & they did just that.

  5. Laurie says:

    Dear Elyse,

    Thank you for being here, and for sharing about how you’re coping with your mom. I recently spent a week with some family members who remind me of your mom, and it is difficult. I was so ready to come home — it’s so difficult to spend time with people who have such different expectations and views of other people!

    I encourage you to talk to someone – a counsellor, perhaps – about how to cope with your mom without losing yourself or avoiding going home. Even a regular support group where you can share how you feel and find ways to cope would be a great idea! Connect with other women in your situation — you’ll find such comfort and hope when you commiserate and share ideas.

    I also encourage you to find ways to make your home a sanctuary even if your mom lives there. I don’t know how to do this – it’s just a thought – but I do know that it’s awful not wanting to be at home.

    Also – on a related note – what about a pet? I wonder if having a dog or cat would change the feeling at your place? Maybe your mom would brighten up if she had a furry baby to take care of :-)

    You are welcome to come here anytime, and let me know how you are.

    Blessings – stay true to you,

  6. Elyse says:


    My name is Elyse and I just tuned 50 in July. My mom came to live with me in Florida from New York after having a stroke. She was diagnosed a long time ago with MS. To say that my relationship with has always been rocky is an under statement! The oldest of two (a younger brother who ws born developmentally disabled, he is a sweet heart). Dad passed away when I was twelve after a long history of drinking.

    At the time that mom had the stroke, I had just ended a relationship and was just starting to find myself. My own apartment, back in school and really enjoying my freedom.

    Soon after she moved in she started treating me like I was 16 again. Telling me that I should not be staying out so late, how much I shouldn drink and even that I needed to lose some weight. Like I did not know that already!

    Our arguments are becoming harsher and she complains that she is stuck in the apartment (her exact word “these four wall”) and does not get that on the weekends I sometimes do not want to do anything except relax and disconnect. Even though she complains about being alone she constantly states that she does not want to live where al the other “old folks” live because she is a loner.

    She has even gone as far as tellin me that if I give her $2,500 that she would leave and I would never see her again. I have informed her on many occasions that she cannot continue to try and control my life and that I have no desire to control hers. She is a grown woman and no one should control her decisions. Though she has stated that I want to control but I see this for what it really is, manipulation. Even as a child she always threaten me with her removal of her love. If I decide to be with a certain man she would state that if you marry him I am out of your life. How stupid was I back then.

    Now I find any excuse to not be home and if I am for as little time as possible and we really do not have many conversations. She is very super critical of everything and everyone and I am so polar opposite of her. I could not care less how other people decide to live their lives (biracial, gay, etc.). It makes no difference to me but to her she believes that everyone is wrong.

    I empathize with her because I cannot truly say that I understand why she is the way she is. It is from childhood or just her personality? Is the illness taking its toll in addition to the age? She turns 72 this year. I have not and cannot walk in her shoes so to say that I understand would by a lie and I believe takes away the importance of it for her.

    I have no children both by choice and circumstances. I still have a lot of living to do and am sure that I will make some additional mistakes in life, but I embrace it, good and bad. It what makes me who I am and am I very proud of the person/woman that I have become and look forward to how I will continue to evolve.

    That you for having this forum and for allowing me to share.


  7. Joanna says:

    Laurie, so sorry for the late reply, but I don’t think they’re deliberately sabotaging me. I have been very fortunate to be performing at a ren faire as of late (although it’s not a paying position), but even though I try to forget what’s bothering me while there, I still have all those weekdays to TRY and talk with them. And of course, I still get nowhere. If they would just compromise with me instead of yelling at me when I do something nice for myself, I just feel that I would not be so pressured to get a job so I can have them stop yelling at me about money. And I have said this to them numerous times. I don’t know why they can’t understand this by now…I do not want to cave in to what they want for me.

  8. Laurie says:

    Hello Mom,

    I think it’s difficult for us children to remember that you parents are only human – even when we’re adults! We want you to be perfectly loving — just plain PERFECT. It’s hard to let you be human, because we want you to be superhuman.

    Wow, you have a lot to live up to :-) And yes, you are totally welcome to be here as a parent — we have alot to learn from you.

    I don’t know of any parents sites or forums, but I tweeted a request on Twitter! If they have any links, I’ll post them here. I’ve never heard of, and look forward to checking it out.

    Hey — how was Mother’s Day for you??

  9. mom says:

    Laurie, could you recommend any sites that would be helpful to me? I have gotten on and it is quite good. I don’t want to get on the discussion sites that just seem to continue to be angry and bitter at their adult children…..of course, when a person is angry and bitter there isn’t too much room for sadness and despair. LOL Thank you

  10. mom says:

    Thanks Laurie, I need to hear these things… a person in the relationship/parent/child might not be able to change or doesn’t want to or whatever the case may be. As a parent I can say that in the moments of deep sadness and despair at my personal loss I don’t think of these reasonalbe things. I especially liked the quote from Oprah….forgiveness is about what could have been and wasn’t….that puts a whole different perspective on forgiveness and each one who would like to forgive. It is ‘a gift we give ourselves’, if possible. There is also a hint of truth to most things said in anger….something to think about too….we parents are only human. Thanks for responding. Hope no one minds a parent on the site. Thanks

  11. Laurie says:

    Dear Mom,

    Thank you for sharing your perspective as a mom! I’m glad you “rambled on” – that’s what I’m here for :-)

    It’s so important for parents to speak up, especially when we only hear from the kids here. And thank you for pointing out that I’m not criticizing difficult or toxic parents. I truly believe they’re doing the best they can, just like we are.

    Yes, I think the parent-child relationship can be worked out if both parties are willing to compromise. The problem is that sometimes things get in the way, such as mental illness (like my mother’s schizophrenia). She can’t change. She is who she is, for better or worse.

    Some adult children are the same way: they can’t or won’t change, but they expect their parents to change. This of course makes it impossible to find common ground or compromise!

    I think acceptance is the key to coping with difficult family members. We need to stop railing against what is, stop fighting reality, and start accepting that this is who God put in our lives.

  12. mom says:

    Dear Laurie,
    just found your article and I could be considered a toxic mom. Hoping my children will want some kind of friendship with me and husband, but I don’t know. I had a big falling out with them and I know I hurt their feelings. I have tried to apologize because I am and was sorry, but I think the damage is done and I must live with the thought of a future without hearing from or seeing my children( they are middle age). I do like the quote:”Don’t handicap your children by making their lives easy.” Mine are quite successful. I will try to use your tips about forgiving myself, allowing myself to feel the pain, and to try to move on. I want to thank you for not reaming ‘toxic parents’. Many sites do and perhaps you have but I haven’t read it……..I have never understood the idea of avoiding parents forever unless their was abuse of course…but it seems that this is becoming quite popular among adult children and parents. A shame for sure. So sad for everyone. Mostly the parents ….but that is the place I am coming from.
    I appreciate reading from the kids perspective….but may I ask: Can’t everything be worked out as long as both parties want to? That is the key…and that is where forgiveness comes in to play. Why not write to mom and dad once in awhile and tell about mundane activities….nothing heavy or blaming. I’m not saying to visit, to put yourselves in awkward or compromising positions….just short and sweet….make it a practice….No one would ever have to visit if things were done this way and yet parent and child would feel connected in a good way. No one really owes us anything….but I think it is “I want to” attitude. Thanks for letting me ramble on. Thanks for being so kind and considerate to mom and dad. No one is perfect.

  13. Laurie says:

    Thank you for sharing your comments and lives with me! I really feel for you – I know how difficult it is to cope with parents who make life harder for us, not easier.

    I’m co-facilitating support groups for caregivers in Vancouver, and have found that being with people who are in the same or similar situation is the best way to find solutions and make life with difficult parents easier. It helps just to know you’re not alone, and to talk with others struggling with their parents.

    It may be difficult to find the right support group, but honestly — it’s worth the time, effort, and energy! What do you think?

  14. Kandace says:

    My parents divorced when I was young. Both parents entered into a relationship before the divorce papers were signed. My father married a woman who had a daughter and couldn’t cope with his four children. She is about as loving as a fish and fake as barbie. I always felt like we were unwelwome in their home and an inconvience. It has always been her house and Dad just lives there. We had access visits every second weekend and were promtly dropped home Sunday afternoon at 3pm. My father is a gentle soul and never stands up for himself and that includes where it came to us kids. I was an angry teenager and have never dealt with my emotions well. My father left his four daughters in a home (with my mother) where we were constantly abused, she had a temper that was explosive, I have been hit with coat hangers, electric cords, egg flips and a cricket bat in the head and yet I still seek her approval. She tells me I’m fat and that I’m not smart enough and that I should get use to being noone. She has told me if she had her time over she would never have had us. She had many boyfriends over the years and paraded us girls around like trophies as we were pretty teenages. I think the only reason we weren’t sexually assulted is because we stuck together and had bad attitudes. Once I has hurt playing sport and the hospital would not release me to my sister and they had to wait for my mother to get there from the pub and then she yelled at me because it wasn’t that bad. I still hacve issues from that injury. We were only allowed to go places where one of our friends parents could pick us up and drop us home or I use to ride my bike. My friends mum use to make lunch for me at school, otherwise I didn’t eat. That’s just a few examples I could go on. I resently just stated having anxity issues and blew up at my father and said things I couldn’t take back and was guilt riden when he told me he thought about killing himself. I tell the truth and I feel bad how does that work. I turn 30 in a few months and don’t want a party because A) I don’t have many friends (I think this is a result of trust issues or I’m just not likable) and B) because I am sick on pretending we are a happy family. My father told me today that he was going to Melbourne to see his wifes daughter this angers me as I don’t want to share my father with her. and I am jealous beacuase I can’t have the relationship with my father I want because his wife hates me and it is uncomfortable to visit him. His wife acts like she is better then me and my sisters. Why do I still seek my parents approval and why do I feel bad if I don’t see them? My mother will not acknowledge she was a bad mother and put us at risk and it annoys me when people tell me I am just like her. I read once that all parents damage their children, children are like panesof glass some parents leave smudge marks and others leave cracks. Well my parents shattered the whole thing.

  15. CG says:

    Most of my friends and acquaintances have matured and understanding parents. In India(at least in the locality where I stay) most of the kids don’t have to deal with difficult, immature parents. That is in case if you are in middle and upper middle class locality.

    When I came across your page and read everyone’s sufferings I felt that I haven’t faced one percent of what others have. Although my mother’s behavior is like that of a “schizophrenia patient”, she is messy, untidy, unpunctual, abusive, stubborn and immature. We have fights and our personalities are poles apart. At least it is not as extreme as physically abusing (occasional though)each other and engaging in chronic verbal abuse. I am thankful my father is non alcoholic and has a cool head. Although I don’t have a very great bonding with my parents like my peers but I feel blessed (enlightened too) after going through this blog and comments.

  16. angela says:

    Hi my name is Angela, I am 24 years old and I would very much appreciate if someone could give me advise on how to live or deal with toxic parents. If you know of any books or therapies please let me know. Before I share my story i’d like to say that my parents are wonderful people, its just that the way they have always made their decisions has always affected my life incredibly. I have always felt like I am their parent and its just painful. I grew up in South until the age of 10. My childhood was great, but sometimes i think that its greatness was because i did not spend it with my parents. My mom had me when she was 28, she had a job and was able to support me. . i grew up mostly with my grandfather aunt and cousin. My father was a working man too but during my childhood he was a pain in the butt, he was always drunk, abused my mother verbally, cheated on her many times and even introduced me to many of his mistress. Fortunately his job made him change cities a lot and i was happy not see him. Even though i loved him because he was my dad, his behaviour made me angry and unhappy. Both of my parents come from a very complicated culture, their families just like them have always been toxic. My mom has always helped her family and they have stolen from her, treated her like garbage and made her very unhappy. My dad comes from a very dysfunctional family too and this is why i understand them. However there comes a point where that understanding becomes too painful. When i was 10 my parents had legal problems in their jobs, my mom was falsely accused of something, because of her brother, and both my mom and father were fired from their jobs. After this event we moved to United States my dad became completely toxic to my mom always blaming her for her loss, My mother became depressed and developed a seizure disorder. She has to work while ill and i was still little to work. My dad hated working, he always has, he hates contributing financially and asking him for money is like the end of the world. By the age of 15 we moved to Canada. There seemed to be more opportunities and a health care system for my mom. When we moved my father continues with his behaviour of a lifetme, my mom with her depression and sadness and me with emotional pain all over the place, Regardless of my parents situation, i went to university, i decided to move out and i was happy living by my own. Even though it was hard i felt free. 3 months ago however, i had to move back with my parents and ever since i have been with them, i feel like i don’t want to live, i ‘m depressed all the time and i am angry with them. My mom recently travel to our home country and she made me pay 1000 dollars for a debt of an apartment, where he sister lives for free, i have a university debt ot 40, 000 dollars and my parents have hardly helped financially, not only have i had to pay many of their mistakes but i have always had to be there for them. My mom is currently ill, but i’ve lost my desire to help her, my dad manipulates me and guilt trips me all the time, telling me that if a leave their house i’m a terrible person because my need me now. I feel like i no longer want to be part of their lives, like i want to run away from them but i can’t because i feel guilty and selfish. I have been saving the money to move out but the only reason of why i have not done so i because i feel guilty and i feel like i am going to live to children to die. Help me if you know of anything.

  17. K R says:

    i am 26 years old. My mother and i are fighting atm. our personalities clash and we are both as stuborn as hell (even though she denys being stubborn). She has a hard time excepting the fact that i don’t allow her to control my life the way she does with my 2 other sisters (they still live at home, my twin also has her 5 year old son living there aswell). Everytime i talk to her she brings up current issues that are bothering her (mostly about my sisters) and when i discuss this with her a couple of days later one of my sisters will txt or call me saying that my mum told them i said this and that about them, most of the time she has twisted my words or flat out lied. This is so annoying, how does a mother want to cause drama within her family. i find her petty need for gossip annoying and no longer feel like speaking to her about anything. She calls me bad names and makes things up all the time. Her moods change all the time (she has a disease that causes chronic pain) she blames this on her pain, but gets angry when we chime back at her. I find her to be very immature at times and am seriously debating whether i continue this releationship or not. She has always been a control freak who needs to be in charge of everytthing, then gets angry or annoyed when someone challenges that. She even sees a difference in opinion a challlenge to her authority. She controls my sisters child and takes over everything, i’d go as far as saying she treats him like her own child and gets defensive when people opinions or assistance. (like his birthday party coming up) . Anyway it is great seeing i am not the only one getting suffocated and stabbed in the back by their mothers. It feels good to get this off my chest.

  18. Janet says:

    I’m glad I stubbled across this blog. I have been struggling with my parents (my mother in particular) trying to control my life and I recently finally learned that she has an anxiety disorder that she affected her parenting (or lack thereof) my entire life. My Dad is also toxic since he is a verbally abusive person that is narcisstic, and lacks any ability to connect with anyone on more than a superficial level. I have noticed, he and my mother change friends and country clubs and every few years, because they lose friends as life situation change. (Divorced, grandkids, etc. if you aren’t happy or available on Saturday nights, they don’t connect or call you!)

    I am 41 years old and I have been waiting to meet a man, have a family as if this is the only way I could escape and be happy because I was constantly told that getting married and having a family is the only way to be an adult.

    Over the past few years, I realized that finding a man was not the right way to go and that I should be pursuing a career to take care of myself. I had tried in the past to get educated (through getting a MBA) only to be ridiculed by my family for doing so. My parents are wealthy people and continued to put me down so much that I thought the only way to make it was to get financial help from them. They wanted me to “look” a certain way, live in a certain neighborhood, all things that I couldn’t achieve without being financially dependent on them. However, they controlled the money and only gave it out when they felt I was “respectful”. Talk about making me crazy!

    I started my own business, which needs about two more years to be successful, which my mother continues to try to disrupt. She calls me at all hours during the day, expecting to talk and can’t hear NO. If you ignore her calls, she keeps emailing, texting and calling me, complaining how “dispectful” I am.

    Now, I just went through a major breakup and major health issues- I needed surgery for fibroids and needed my parents to be there to help care for me. Because my parents live in Florida (I live in Illinois) they didn’t want to be here- because they assumed “I could find someone else” when my boyfriend broke up with days before, so I needed them. When I was to have the surgery, I took pills the night before that caused so much that I needed to go to the emergency room. Not only did my parents initially refuse to take me (they didn’t think I was in pain!)- but once we got there my mother convinced herself that my surgery was cancelled the next day! She started talking to the ER doctor telling him she was “too old and too sick” to drive me to the hospital for the surgery and what did he think she would do?

    Both my parents told me that “They would decide in the morning if I should get the surgery!” And that “I should have it a different time.” Crazy! Until I screamed and threatended to drive myself, they continued to act as though this was a demand on them. The morning they actually drove me, they spent the entire time (instead of conforting me) COMPLAINING and demanding that I give them an apology for my disrespectful behavior the night before.

    I had to call pysch services and get them to talk to them and when I was released, my mother refused to care for me, feed me, if it wasn’t on HER terms. I was basically not allowed to tell her what I needed which resulted in many fights, as I was unable to shower, drive, etc. And my mother refused to do basic care for me because I was “disrespectful”.

    I am trying to get away, and I have made the choice to have a baby on my own, before it’s too late, despite their past comments that I need to with a man to do so. I just needed to vent because I am so frusterated! What kind of parents (especially a mother) try to BLOCK their daughter’s surgery!

  19. Laurie says:

    Dear Karie,

    It’s not selfish to move away from your mom…but I know it feels like it is. I live 2 provinces away from my mom, and she used to ask me to move back to Saskatchewan every time we talk! We talk every 2 weeks, so this is alot of me saying no, my life is here and I have to live my life the way I want. Eventually she stopped asking.

    Is it really true that you’re being selfish if you pursue your own life? Is it really true that to be a good daughter, you have to do everything your mom wants?

  20. Karie says:

    I am a 41 year old female and having a hard time not letting my mom control me. My mom was single mom, independent, type A personality, raising a type 1 diabetic from the age of 18 months old. We have never been that far apart. But recently I went through a divorce and want to move, me and my 14 year old son, to a different state to start over. I live in a small place and want to have my son experience a more different, exciting place to live. I have friend who live where I want to move. Childhood friends who are also diabetic. But my mom thinks I am trying to leave her. That I don’t want to live by her anymore. Thats not it! I just want a new life, MY OWN LIFE! My mom loves me, I know. But this has nothing to do with her. When I was going through my divorce, my husband at the time told her I was going to move to TX. She was so mad, didn’t talk to me for months, and was hateful. And she has told me that if i did move, she would disown me. Its not right. That was 3 years ago and she thinks now that the divorce has been done that I am not wanting to move. I have never said that, but it is never discussed on what I want. I have been saving for a down payment on a house for when I move. I just have to tell her that I am moving. I just don’t want to deal with her and the drama. Help! I have been reading Toxic Parents and it is helping me see that I need to take care of me but when you are person like me, it feels selfish.

  21. Laurie says:

    Dear Ann,

    How does your grandmother feel about what’s going on with your mother? If she’s open to moving to her son’s house, it sounds like it would be a better place for her. I don’t know how your grandma is doing, or how happy she is with your mom. It sounds like it’s not a happy situation at all, but sometimes people prefer to stay where they are. The hell they know is preferable to the hell they don’t know.

    What does your grandmother want to do?

  22. Laurie says:

    Dear Rhonda,

    Your mom has put you in a very difficult position! It sounds like she’s lost touch with reality, which must be so difficult for your dad — and you, of course. But you can distance yourself, while your dad seems to have committed himself to taking care of her.

    It’s admirable that you don’t want to abandon your dad. I think what I would do is talk to him about what he needs or would like from you. “Dad, how can I support you? What would help you – what can I do to help you?”

    You may be surprised by his response; maybe he just wants to talk to you on the phone once a week. I don’t know what it would take for him to feel “abandoned” by you, but I do know that different people need different types of support. That is, he may not feel abandoned by you at all — whereas you in the same situation may feel abandoned.

    I hope this makes sense! Talk to your dad, see what he says. Then you’ll have more information that will help you decide how to cope with your difficult mother.


  23. Rhonda S says:

    I just received a 14 page letter from my mother today. It rambled a lot, told me how I needed to listen to her, talked about how the devil was using my dad to distract her while she wrote the letter and mentioned to the penny how much money she had spent on the children for Christmas. I have been criticized, judged my entire life and in the last 10 years or so been “tested” to see how I would react to certain situations so she could judge me. She see lights from angels and God talks to her. She has damaged me so badly that I turned down a job recently because she put so much doubt in my mind and this from 450 miles away. I moved to get away from her. The only thing making me hesitate is my dad. I feel like I would be abandoning him. I am just getting too old for this crap anymore and just want to take care of my kids without any of the craziness. Thanks.

  24. Ann says:

    I grew up with a dysfunctional, abusive and controlling mother. She quarrels with her mother who is 89 years old and blames her mother for everything bad that happened to her. After six years, I have returned home to visit with my teenaged kids and it is just terrible to see that this is still happening. She criticizes the kids and even went as far to call my daughter a dirty tramp just because she had on short pants. She spent last night from about 1 in the morning quarreling with my grandmother, while I just tried to contain myself. How does one cope with a parent like that? She initiates a quarrel almost everyday. No one likes to visit the house since my mother moved in, it is that bad and at this point I want to reconsider having my grandmother move to her son’s house, cutting my visit very short and return home. What is your advice?

  25. Laurie says:

    Dear Sarah,

    I always envied people who had both a mom and a dad growing up, and I never realized until I was about 35 years old that just because you have two parents doesn’t mean life is easy!

    Your dad has said some mean things to you. A parent should never tell his child that he regrets having kids. That goes beyond having a difficult parent – I think it’s emotional abuse.

    It’s not simple to forgive and move on. I often feel sad and disappointed about my parents and my childhood. Some days I feel like I’ve forgiven them, and other days I’m still angry and hurt.

    Truthfully, it does get easier as I get older. I’m rarely mad at my parents, except at Christmas and Thanksgiving! Then, I wish I had a family. And I call my mom every second Sunday, and always feel so bad for her and me because of her schizophrenia.

    My parents have never apologized either. I don’t think parents – especially the difficult ones – realize how much damage they do, and how their past behavior affects their adult children.

  26. sarah says:

    It is a good feeling reading through peoples stories and not feeling completely alone with my own. I am 24 and have struggled with my family my whole life. My mother and I no longer see as I decided she wasn’t good to have in my life and my father I barely see, and when I do I leave feeling angry and depressed. My mother is an alcoholic with many issues and put plainly, shouldn’t of ever had children- she had five. My father is an interesting case, after the separation when I was 3 he was left with three children (me and two brothers) to look after. He went through countless short term girlfriends trying to fill his void and re-make the family, but in doing so he neglected a lot of our needs. He has told me that he resents having had children as we made it hard for him to hold on to a partner. I believe he is only trying to shift blame. I do hold him more responsible for my bad childhood than my mother, as he was the one taking care of us and she was busy starting another dysfunctional family with someone else.
    It is so hard to forgive your parents especially when they still continue the same behaviour and never apologise for it.

  27. Laurie says:

    Bri, I’m glad you’ve found articles to help you deal with your difficult mom! The bottom line is that she loves you – and you realize that. There may also be things going on that you don’t realize…you’re at the beginning of your life and it’s very exciting. Maybe your mom isn’t coping well with that. Maybe her insecurity and attention-getting tactics are her way of expressing fear or other difficult emotions.

    Joanna, it seems like you’re both independent and dependent on your parents! It’s really difficult to cut ties with parents and make it on our own, especially for us artistic creative types that find it hard to make a living doing what we love.

    I wonder if the reason your parents aren’t supporting you is because they worry you won’t be able to support yourself as an actress? I don’t know for sure. What do you think? Are they deliberately trying to make life worse for you?

  28. Bri says:

    I am 22 years old and living at home. I work full-time and my parents agreed to let me live at home for a year after I graduated from college so that I could save money to buy a house. I am planning on moving out in about 6months. I love my parents, but my mom is very insecure and often starts fights me with and nags me as a way to get attention. If I do not bite then she will involve my dad who is a no-nonsense type of guy and very reasonable expect when it comes to his wife. He always has her side which I understand because it’s his wife. Unfortunately, the things my mom tells him are not always true. Tonight he talked to me about the fighting that has been going on between us lately and told me he is giving me another chance before he asks me to move out. What bothers me the most is that I love my dad, and I hate when issues with my mom drive a wedge between us. Even though I have issues with my parents, reading these blogs have given me some perspective. Yes, my mom is insecure, and yes, she exaggerates and even completely makes up things about me sometimes but I know she still loves me. I know that she only does it because she is trying to get my attention. I am going to try and be more grateful and patient with her, especially while I am still living at home. Thanks for sharing and helping me to be more appreciative of the situation I am in

  29. Joanna says:

    I’m 34 and I’ve been dealing with depression and another mental disorder I do not like to identify as it’s been exploited in the media as of late. (I really would rather be treated like a regular person, which I will go into later.) I have lost my job, I am single and I have never lived on my own. The problem is, more and more I want to start my real career and go out of state as where I live has an unsteady TV and Film production flow, but I’m stuck with parents who are not being very supportive of my chosen career.

    To be honest, I have felt they have been too overprotective of me because of my disorders. I’ve always wanted to be treated like everyone else, but telling me constantly “I couldn’t take rejection well” and thinking that having to place me into alternate school never helped at all. I even quit acting as a teenager because most of the teachers at school never cast me in a production or even gave me a fair chance. But it took me almost ten years to see they were wrong about this…my parents, those teachers…my first time out, I got a speaking part. And my confidence grew more and more that I was finally comfortable to start thinking about it seriously. I had one obstacle then and that was an inflexible job. However, I was fired last year, and it’s been hard finding work to support myself. Even if I’m finally performing in community theater again, I’m still upset that I cannot support myself. I have asked if they would help me financially, but they refuse. I can understand, but I really can’t put these things off any longer. I’ve even mentioned about moving down to Chicago and eventually to either Los Angeles or New York, but they seem to try to guilt me out of it. I won’t let them do that to me again, but I want them to realize that what they do is not helping me at all.

    Again, I’m 34, I’m not letting a disorder consume me and I’m trying so hard to get my life to where I want it to be, but how do I get them to see all they’re doing is making it worse for me? They know very well I’m independent, but it seems that with all that’s happening, they don’t think I can take care of myself…what do I do?

  30. Sara says:

    My mother is diagnosed manic depressive and bipolar, so I know that most of the terrible stuff that happens and has happened is the fault of the disease. She sold or traded her medication to treat these conditions my whole life, to fund her other drug addictions, and has frequently used up any money she or my father made at various jobs as well.
    She has routinely said incredibly hurtful and awful things to my face, in email, to my friends, and on my facebook page. I’m talking very very hurtful, unnecessary, and incriminating things, such as calling me a whore or straight out fat. Then whenever I don’t talk to her to try to avoid this, she calls me worthless and a terrible daughter. I just don’t even know what to do anymore.
    And then we get to my father, who is immensely insecure, depressed, and passive, and could not help me deal with my mother at all. My two brothers were spared my experiences for the most part, because for some reason or other my mother preferred them (and admitted it openly). Now my dad thinks I hate him because of the lies my mother tells him, and keeps sending pitiful emails asking what he did wrong. I do send him emails and talk to him on facebook, but I am uncomfortable talking on the phone with anyone anyway because of anxiety issues likely stemming from my experiences, let alone my mom, and if I talk to Dad Mom will be right over his shoulder.
    I have worked my ass off at the age of 16 to pay for a hotel room for my entire family to live in. I have dealt with verbal blow after verbal blow, physical fights from my younger brother who is always right, and everything is unnecessary. I live nine hours away and it still isn’t far enough. Every time I feel like my life is going well this drama gets stirred up again and I am so very fed up. I am 22 years old. I have to move on with my life.

  31. ISABEL R. says:


  32. sally ann says:

    I was thinking just today that if a forum such as this didn’t exist, I would set one up myself. What a relief to find this. I thought I was the only one. My parents divorced when I was 3 and have remained single and, unusually, both have lots of acquaintances but no very close friends. The guilt this has given my sister and me is huge. I moved away from my home town 18 years ago and while it gave me the liberty I craved, it had also resulte in much more contact via phone calls and visits home. My mum is wealthy and well-bred yet married my dad, a working class man with a chip on his shoulder and a control freak problem, and my mum talks regularly about how life has slipped her by because of her awful marriage, and how everyone else has lovely lives and (I quote) lovely families.
    My dad doesn’t talk in that way, but does expect me to act and be a certain way – cheerful, happy, enthusiastic. To desist has caused huge rows and I’m not prepared to go down that route any longer.
    I never feel I will ever be good enough for my parents – mum, because I couldn’t replace what she lost in childhood (her parents committed suicide when she was tragically young) and my dad, because I’ve not achieved anything in terms of glowing career, success, superb marriage.
    This is how it is and I realised today I would never be good enough, and that this charade will continue until one or all of us are no longer here.
    Sad, isn’t it? But how nice that we can support each other on here. And both parents have fantastic qualities, don’t get me wrong. Yet as a very sensitive soul I need to share my occasional suffering!

  33. Bill says:

    I apreciate everyone’s story. I am 33 yearold professional male and who is coping from growing up with essentially four parents ( literally just two- a mom and a dad). What I mean is that they both posses tremendous amounts of love in their hearts, which they have shown my sister and I throughout our lives, However, they both my mother and father had and still have destructive and unhealthy sides to their personalities. Mom, who was emotionally abused by her family, was brutally verbaly abusive towards my sister, father and myself. Also, my father was critical and physicall abusive of my sister, mother and me. Growing up, I actually had to pull my father off of my mother while he was choking her. Also, despite protecting my sister from abuse, I feel my older siser never protected me when I was subjected to abuse. Whats more, my sister invalidated my hurt feelings, by saying she was abused more then me. ( Despite her selfish inclinations, she is also loving and generous-as she has inquired about my well being as and adult and has lent me money in recent years). Only recently did I learn from my therapist that my home and family life was uniquenly unhealthy, becuase my folks and sister had so many great and loving attributes, yet could also be verbally and physically abusive at any time, my sense of trust was diminished-due to me never konw what to expect in homelife. I could have been embrased with love, or, unexpectedly steped into explosive mindful of emotions. I never knew what to expect. The clinical term for this tumoltous dynamic, is ” Crazy Making”. Now, after years of therapy, twelve step recovey, spiritual healing and practicing good health and nutrition, I still resent these people. Although, I have not seen my parents and sister being overtly abusive to anyone in the past five years or so, I still witness their pscyhological unhealthyness (They all have depression and somesort of anxiety), which they do not seek treatment for. The truth is, I resent my family today, not for harm they have done to themselves, eachother and myself, but because they never sought help to change. My parents are older now and I do care and love for them and my sister, so I want to keep working on myself to maintain serenity when I am around them. I hate saying it, but I have no control over them, I can only change how I except them-which can be with anger that will only kill me, or loving kindness. Son of a bitch, I hate saying this, they don’t have to change, but my attitude towards them. I am not making excuses for the harmy they have caused, I am only excepting responsibility formyse.

  34. cece says:

    Omg I am at my ropes end. My mother has to be right about EVERYTHING and when you try and voice an opnion she either reacts with anger or she tears up and plays the victim. I am so over being frustrated and or feeling guilty.

  35. linda says:

    My parents divorced when I was young and I was essentially raised by my Mother and and my other “parent” was her sister married four times to successively wealthier men but not a role model.It has taken me a lifetime to see the damage my childhood caused me. When I was married my Mother always interfered.It wasnt until I hit my forties and friends would comment that uI began to realize how controlling my Mother is and how destructive some of her fussy nit picking nastiness has been. I am slim and attractive but she always finds fault your hair is horrible etc.I had a therapist friend (a neighbor and an acquaintance I was not her patient)who met my Mother briefly and though she never came out and said it she told me it would be great f I could move away from my Mother.My Mother is charming and has many friends( mostly superficial but one bizarre one with a much younger neighbor who has his own issues but adores her) but she is an awful Mother and it has taken me the better part of a lifetime to come to grips with that.My Mother has helped me financially but she has always berated me as an only child it is hard to deal with such an abusive parent who on one hand gives and on the other hand can not stop admonishing and criticising

  36. Terri says:

    I have to say so glad to feel I’m not alone. I’ve spent so much time feeling guilty for feeling such anger and resentment for what my mother does. Growing up our house was filled with such drama and after I got married and had my own house I swore I would not deal with this anymore..the minute I don’t do what she wants or thinks I should do it blows up into this huge argument and she brings up the past and throws things in my face. Then she won’t talk to me for a week and then my father calls saying I need to do something she has been going on these terrible rants all hours day and night . Also does same to my sister and is very jealous of our relationship because we are extremely close. This toxic relationship has affected my marriage and my kids. I’m at the point were I think the no contact may be my next move if the guilt from my father doesn’t stop me.

  37. Ann says:

    I am trying really hard to deal with my “toxic” mother. The hardest part is not feeling like it is all my fault. I worry that I do things to make her act the way she does towards me. The latest incident has put me over the edge and i am considering not having anymore contact. I just moved into a new home, it is nice, my husband and I have worked very hard to get this house (no one has ever given or loaned us any money)My mother comes over (she lives 200 miles away-she hasnt been down to see me in over a year) she goes upstairs sits on the couch and doesnt move the entire evening. She nevers walks around the house to see it, never looks at my girls rooms, never goes to look at the kitchen (it is my dream kitchen). She goes downstair to basement to go to bed and never comes back up. When she is getting ready to leave she says “nice house here Ann, wou will be able to make a lot of improvements” that was it! Then she gets into car makes no attempt to hug me and leaves.

    I realize this may not be that big of deal, but it hurt my feelings so much! I cant understand why she cant be proud of me! I have a Masters degree (first person in my family to even go to college) at my gradutation she never said she was proud of me-just that my dad was annoying her! She also refused to see me in the hospital when i had my second daughter because i was moving farther away (200 miles instead of 100 and was moving because i got a promotion) She told me i already had one daughter why did she have to come to the hospital.

    I could continue with countless times she has said or doen things just to hurt my feelings. OH did i mention my brother who has doen nothing with his life is the best thing in the world. They both talk bad about me to eachother and heaven forbide i have an opinion about the way my brother raises (or doesnt raise his children-they live with my parents) She makes sure he runs and tells him and then he treats me like crap when ever i am around.

    I am sorry i am babbling and feeling sorry for myself, i never really get a chance to do this. I have a wonderful life with a great husband and two beautiful daughters (i believe the universe gave me girls so i could learn to get along with woman!) i just feel cheated that i dont have a mom who loves me unconditionaly. I wish more than anything that when i have a bad day i know i can count on my mom to listen and be there and love me unconditionally. I have come to the realization that i dont, but it sucks and i just hoped to find a group of peole who felt like me so i dont feel so alone. Thankyou for listening and hopefully i didnt sound too crazy or whiny

  38. Scarlette says:

    After reading all this, I now very well know that my problem too is real. This woman who is called my mother fits every description of a bad, terrible, narcissistic, toxic etc mother. God like life is easy anyway. This is a kind of a curse. But am just glad to know that you can take this in your stride and not loose out on your life itself.

  39. katrina says:

    I too have decided no contact with one of my parents and honestly I feel so much better for that. My father was a terrible father and sometimes I think he was incouraged by my mother. They split when I was about 8. I feel like my mother is selfish and controlling and tries to control every aspect of my life, down to who I can be with to what I should get my kids for Christmas. I literally stress out counting every gift cost wise and the amounts of gifts they receive. I don’t feel joy at Christmas time because I constantly being told by my mother I like one child better than another.. this is not the case at all. She constantly tells me to act like an adult as she treats me like a child.. it is literally driving me nuts. I have no contact with my father and I think maybe with my mother soon as well. I sometimes think to myself, life would be so much easier if she wasn’t in it constantly up my ass directing me like I’m her damn puppet.

  40. Susan S says:

    Responding to Denise’s post. I know it is very difficult to let others know that you have no contact with a parent. I spent a lot of time reading about narcissists and toxic parents when I had finally decided no more emotional abuse. Luckily, I have 2 other siblings that have gone “no contact” with them also, so we have each other for support. I attend support group for adult children of mentally ill parent…. Found through NAMI chapter. Websites abound that gave me support to keep strong when friends and other family members tried to make me feel guilty. They do not understand all the years I tried to be everything for my mother and she viciously turned on me and my children. Take a look at and go to section on “no contact” . It’s been more than 2 years since I’ve had contact, and I will say to anyone that knows…”it is sad, and I wish it weren’t necessary for my safety and week-being, but no contact is necessary.”. I didn’t choose it out of spite or vengefulness, I truly had to choose no contact for my sanity and for my children’s safety and peace in our lives. Good luck and know that it gets easier…..

  41. Denise says:

    I am finding it hard to find support in ending my relationship with my mother who abused me when I was a child and was continuing to emotionally abuse me as an adult. I have had a nervous breakdown, went through agoraphobia (now somewhat under control), severe depression as a result of my childhood and young life. My mother is toxic and has no positive effect in my life.

    I wish people could understand that even if she is my mother, I have to take care of myself and sometimes that means that you must end a relationship in order to move forward safely.

    Do you know of a website that aides/supports that?

    Thank you,
    Denise Clark

  42. Jane says:

    Hey, My parents are really annoying (I shouldn’t be saying this).I’m good in my education side(well in my opinion I am not in my parents) .. I get A*’s, B’s and C’s or even sometime D and E (which is very rarely).I’m in yr 10 right now just promoted to yr 11 .My GCSE’s are this year.My parents always make me down . they call me a failure, compare me with my friends. Constant nagging on my bad grades . they wasn’t all A’s and B’s . But I cant .. I’m not perfect *seriously*.If I invite a friend and watch movie with them . they call me bad words……they say movie is haram and blah .I haven’t got any freedom. Im not allowed wearing jeans outside . I have to wear abaya if I go outside . My parent banned my going out with my friends.(and now i’m loosing friends) they keep in touch with all their mates. but if we do they start criticizing me . If i wear jeans and a top outside without abaya they start sayin awful things about me. They start sayin I’m a prostitute, That I wanna show my body’s to guy and all this crap which I hate to listen . They always nag me .. blame me .. I hate them

  43. Linda Quinn says:

    I recently found this site and will respond to M, the young girl ,going to a Community College and living at home. I allowed my mother to control me for over 50 yrs., far too long. After a personal incident occurred, I went to counseling, and realized I needed to take control of my life. My mother is now 89, and her not being able to control me anymore has made her mean and extremely hard to deal with. Added to that is the fact she now has some dementia, which makes it worse, as every day I listen to the same constant complaints. My advice to M is, you seem like a very smart young lady. Please, do yourself a favor, and make decisions based on what you want to do, not your mother’s wishes for you. And don’t expect her to change, as she has no desire to. She will still attempt to control you, and be upset when you don’t comply. Stay strong, build your own life, otherwise you will be miserable. I know, as it affected my relationships with everyone.. She had me convinced no one was good enough, nor could I trust anyone but her. It prevented me from allowing many people into my life, except her. I can’t tell you how much I admire you, and the fact you know what you are dealing with. I found out far late in life and there is no reasoning with this type of personality, as they feel they are the only ones right and the whole world is wrong. It won’t ever be easy, but you have choices, and much of your life before you. Don ‘t allow a self-centered, controlling mother ruin your life. Best of luck to you.

  44. Kelsey says:

    After reading all of the other stories on here, mine sounds like petty whining, but I need to get it off my chest. I am 23 years old and my mom has constantly been criticizing me since middle school. It’s usually over the small details that make up my personality my love of fantasy, the fact that I don’t like shopping, how I wear my hair, but she also weighs in on the other bigger stuff like my current job search, my friends, and my current single status (I’m not looking). Her constant critiques make me feel ashamed of my own personality.

    I feel like I’m a relatively successful person. I recently graduated a state university with honors and on Dean’s List. None of my friends drink in excess, smoke or do drugs. AND I will have a nonfiction piece published in an anthology in a few weeks. I feel like I’m constantly unable to make her happy. The constant pressure is making me upset to the point where I’m suffering from depression. Even though she takes me to psychologists and doctors she doesn’t understand what is making me so upset. She refuses to hear me out and when I vent my frustrations she gets very defensive and angry, like it’s a critique of her parenting and personally insulting. When I do manage to get a word in edgewise she dismisses my feelings as “did you take your pill today?” My friends and therapists have seen the effect of her constant criticism and both encourage me to more or less stop trying to please her and live my own life. I do love my mom, but I’m afraid that if she doesn’t give me a break I’m never going to be able to have a relationship with her. I’ve read numerous people on this site say that they just want their own life and I totally understand where there coming from. If nothing else, it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way and it makes me feel less guilty about harboring these frustrations

  45. Tabby_cat says:

    I feel like some people might tell me to wise up since I have not been physically abused, nor have my parents been addicts or alcoholics, but they have screwed me over, and that’s that. They are extremely toxic, insensitive people; the truth is, they should have never been parents to start with.

    We moved from a different country to the UK when I was 11… I didn’t get any support from my parents, my anorexic mother became so depressed, in fact, that you had to walk around her on tip toes. She has been on antidepressants for years but still has terrible anger issues. Today she got annoyed at my sister, and so transferred it to me as well, saying I have an ugly, mean mug (not face), and she hates looking at me these days. I just sat there and said, ‘yeah, okay’ because she is menopausal, and goes crazy for no reason on a regular basis. She has a terrible relationship with food and I feel this has been inherited by me. I am a healthy weight (bmi of 19 or 20) but count calories every single day, I never feel skinny enough, and go through weeks on end of hating my body. It doesn’t help that I feel any love that I get from my mum is based on how I look, as she praises me when I’m at my thinnest, literally saying, you look great now that you lost weight.
    Sometimes my mum doesn’t make dinner and that’s fine by me, if she let me make one for myself, but she doesn’t let me use the kitchen because apparently I make a mess. In fact, she is obsessed with tidiness as even though I do chores, I never do them well enough. She shouts and calls me useless. And yeah, sometimes I have to go hungry because of her ridiculous territorial tendencies.

    I am a straight A student but my Dad always criticizes me. He said nothing when I got into Uni onto a course that very few get into. He always puts me down. When I said I want to study film, he said he will not support me financially and suggested I may just as well be unemployed. Him and my sister hate they way I dress, talk, behave, everything. My sister saw the outfit I chose for her graduation (a skirt and a blouse) and hated it; she started shouting how come I can’t dress ‘normal’ at least once, and that I look like a prostitute, and that the graduation is her day, and I should stop seeking attention. It really hurt me and no one even stood up for me. (And I DON’T look like a prostitute no matter what I wear, because I don’t wear much make up, have small bust, and not much legs to speak of even in heels.)

    They complain about my boyfriend – once he put the kettle on for tea because I asked him to, and afterwards my Dad said, ‘will he be wearing my boxers next?’ Just always fucking exaggerating and making a problem out of EVERYTHING. Yet they stuff that matters, they ignore. When I was sexually abused at school, Dad told me not to report it, because if it gets out, his reputation may suffer (how?! I still don’t get it to this day). Mum told me to get over myself at one point. This still hurts, and I still haven’t forgiven them.

    Dad hit me and pulled my hair once, as in just assaulted me in the car once, and never apologized. He ‘didn’t like my tone.’

    I have an absolutely amazing boyfriend who is absolutely definitely my soul mate, and we want to stick together through thick and thin and eventually, have a family. But the truth is, I am terrified of my kids turning around one day and telling me I’m a terrible mother. How can I be any good? I have anxiety, and I am bitter and unhappy, and have a lot of unresolved issues. The sexual abuse doesn’t help, either. I want to be a loving, working mother in 15 years or so (I am currently at uni), but I am afraid that I had been ‘poisoned’ by my toxic parents. Sometimes I just want to self harm, which I did in the past, or crawl into the bed. But, I know I have to carry on.

  46. abby says:

    Hi I’m 28 and trying to deal with my father. He and my mother divorced when I was a junior in highschool. My mother moved out, while my father kept the house. Going into my senior year my father met my now step mother and her 6 year old daughter and moved in with them leaving me alone in what was our family home. I worked 2 jobs just to eat and go to school. Now 11 years later my dad has since moved back into our home with my step mother and stepsister. My dad has done everything for my stepsister. She has had a tutor since 8th grade and just graduated highschool. My father is making a huge deal about how proud he is of her and everything she has done. At the same time he looks down on me. I put myself through college, I have 2 beautiful smart little girls and a wonderful husband. Yet my father finds every opportunity to put me and my husband down. When I talk about how hurtful he is to him he says I’m a selfish spoiled jealous Brat. I will admit I am jealous of the fact that he outwardly States of proud he is of my stepsister yet he has never said he was proud of me. My husband feels that it is pointless to argue or talk to my father about because he acts like he is better than we are and will never admit to being a bad father to his own child or to preferring someone else’s child to his own. I honestly don’t know what to do anymore. One minute I want to cut contact completely but on the hand I want my father to actually realize the pain he has and is causing. What do I do?

  47. Lisa says:

    I HAVE SPENT MY ENTIRE LIFE LOOKING AFTER MY MOTHER, NOT TO PUSH HER TOO HARD, NOT TO SAY THINGS THAT AMY UPSET HER, TO WALK ON GLASS AND TIP TOES WHILE AROUND HER. She has struggled with depression and drug addiction since I can remember and most likely before I can remember. She is pushy and trys to control my life, I am strong willed and very much opposite of her. She is a people pleaser and uses her pleasing skills against you at every opportunity. Last year I had my first child and since she has been un stoppable, making drama for me where ever she can, I start a new job she makes drama and puts me in the middle of it she is constantly at the doctor with one complaint or another, she does things to cause fights with my father and last night she decided that she does not approve my my marriage which is taking place in a month. She is not paying for the items she offered to pay for nor finishing the favors which she agreed to do. It was out of the blue and an attack instead of a concerned parental conversation. She was laughing while insulting my fiancé. It was childish and pathetic. Now that I am happy and moving on with my life after a divorce over 4 years ago it seems that she wants me to be unhappy. I don’t understand this and I do not know what to do at this point I think she needs help. She has never been mentally stable and always very immature, but this has topped the cake.

  48. Ann says:

    I am so glad to have found this site,thanks also to those who dared to share their stories. I do not have solutions to anyone’s problems, not even my own. I just want to sit and hold your hands, hug as we cry, and let go of all those unfulfilable expectations. You have my compassion. My toxic parents (still alive and demanding) have made me sensitive to your pain !!
    Small advise, Do remember to be loving and connected parents, when you do step into parenthood and find your kids awesome “godparents” since their grandparents (i.e. Your toxic parents) may remain emotionally disconnected. Also find yourself therapists who specialize in “reparenting” therapy. Live your life independently and remember to offer loving kindness to yourself even as adults when you feel low just as you did growing up. (I want to write a book on surviving toxic childhoods!) I liked this website(inner Love, ann

  49. StillTrying says:

    Ah, reading this really puts into perspective my mother. I don’t ever remember a time when there was not tension between us. From a child I have always felt disgust and disdain from her. She was very narcissistic, always buying herself beautiful things and having her nails and hair done, but left my brother and I to look like throwaways. She had me at 16 and I don’t think she ever got over me “ruining” her life, like I asked to be brought into the mess. If I tell her no or I’m not going to do something she wants me to do, she just freaks out! And I’m 25 married with 3 children. I am so tired of her bad, selfish attitude running my life. My father, not in the picture, is just as selfish just on another level. I love my mom, but I’m tired of her hurting me by the insensitive things she says. She’s not supportive, she just criticizes. All the time. Hold your shoulders back, do this do that say this say that.. you should be like, etc etc etc. Sometimes I just wish I could be a million miles away from her so she couldn’t hurt me anymore. She’s so toxic, I never want to be this way to my daughter. God help me to be different….

  50. charlotte says:

    I’m nearly 21 years old and I’m so confused with my feelings at the minute. I had what I feel quite a bad childhood, my mum and dad had a very destructive relationship. There was abuse from my dad to my mum which i saw a lot of and tried to help as hated to see my mother in such a state, that never worked though as the same thing would happen and my mother began to resent how much i hated it and would tell her. I feel as though all my childhood my feelings where never thought of they were always about how s**t my mum and dad were feeling and that’s all that really mattered to them. I fell pregnant at a young age and even carrying a baby my father hit me over me tutting because my dad was very pissed of that someone had left the tap dripping, i lost the baby which really upset me as i felt that was something that was taken away from me. I remember where i was about 6 or 7 something like that and my dad went mad and tried getting me, my mum and my brother out of the house, he was drunk and all i can remember is how scared i was, i grew up feeling very uncomfortable with my father and if he would walk in a room i would straight away get up and leave the room. Now I’m older though i see that none of them are perfect, they are actually still together but so unhappy and still the same. I have tried speaking to my mother but she hasn’t given me any answers at all, when i tell her how it made me feel she brings in that she didn’t like it either, but she put herself in that position as her child i had no choice and a parent is there to protect their children from things like that. I’ve spoken more to my dad about it, he listened, but really he didn’t understand or maybe even didn’t care how that made me feel because he is also someone that just thinks about his feelings and what hes had to do. i recently told my mum and dad i wouldn’t be going round there anymore because it made me feel really uncomfortable, so i didn’t and they hadn’t even tried to arrange to see me in my own home or phoned me to see how i was. So i told them a few months ago that i didn’t want anything to do with them, my mum hasn’t spoke to me since but my dad has called me trying to talk, and i have to explain to him that i don’t to see him anymore but he doesn’t accept it. I don’t want anything to do with my mum or dad but then makes me feel sad as i don’t want that to happen i want a family life which is happy but i know that is something they could never provide. Its now effecting my life and my relationship with my partner as i get irate about the silliest little things. I realize that even though my parents done this i now have issues with myself because of it. I’m sorting out to see a counselor and just hoping that it would help to talk about it to someone that is just there to listen. I’ve also ordered a book about how to have a good adult life after a bad childhood and cant wait till that gets here. all i want is to be happy and get on with my own life despite everything and to not let it effect me anymore.

  51. M says:

    My mother has always been over controlling, overprotective, and worrisome with nonsensical reasoning. For example: We live in California, you can’t get anywhere without a freeway but my mother doesn’t let me take it because she wants to protect me…completely understandable, but her goal wasn’t so understandable (“my goal is to get us all out of california without you ever taking the freeway where you will kill yourself”) it takes me 30 minutes to drive to work everyday for a minimum wage job when it could take 10 minutes if I were to use the freeway…the gas money adds up and there goes half of my paycheck. I’m an eighteen year old and very responsible (graduated high school early, 4.0 college GPA, never “back talking” to my parents and I’m usually understanding of them, never a disappointment…at least I shouldn’t be), I’m worried about my life when I move out in a year. Before I graduated my mother convinced me to start out in community college, I didn’t apply to universities because it makes sense to save money for while getting your general education out of the way..she chose my major as well…sociology. luckily I love this subject. Despite the fact that I’m tolerable and have accepted most of the life decisions she’s made for me while I’m still so young, I feel so held back at the same time. It took months for her to see that me being on the debate team was a good thing…I’m harrassed every time I leave the house for meetings or work or even to see friends that I do projects with more than just hang out with. I feel like I have so many aspirations but they are so suppressed because the people I love the most (mom and dad) constantly call me stupid and make me feel incompetent. My professors and teachers don’t understand my parents either, so many times I’ve heard “you’re parents don’t realize how lucky they are for the way you turned out under all those rules”. I’m not allowed to date but I’m not a complete pushover, I am currently in a very strong relationship with someone my parents would approve of if they got past the fact that he is a boy in the first place. The dating issue is fairly common for all young girls though. My main issue is that I feel like I’m being treated like a bad person when I’m not…the only reason I know I’m not is because I’m told by every one else I come across how good I am. Sure I’ll make if far in life when I’m out of here…but it’s a damn shame that my toxic parents wont have a decent relationship with me. If I try to talk to my mom…I’m screamed at. If I express something new that I want to try (accepting a job at a bank that the Vice President of the bank invited me to!!!) then Im told to stop being stupid and stay at Macys…”start using your head and get it out of your ass” …I’m called lazy a lot as well. My mother owns a business (daycare in our house) I clean a lot for that every night I do dishes, clean the counters, sweep, put toys away, and mop. I print and type things up for her and put her heat pad in the microwave every night and got her the best mother’s day present this past mother’s day. I never complain because she loves me and still spoils me in ways (giving me the car, letting me live at home w/o rent for the next year) however she also uses these things against me after I submit to her conditions (threatening to take the car back after I payed for repairs, telling me to leave…or move out). All hell broke loose when I went job hunting a few months ago, she said I was ungrateful. School is all my life should be to her…school is huge in my life but I’m naturally compassionate and love to have friends as well….she says life has no purpose for anyone but family..everyone else brings you down. I’m lucky I ignore this crap or else I would be a hermit the rest of my life. I’ve been rambling enough now…Just found this website and it was the perfect outlet to release some stress.

  52. Tee says:

    I am currently under a blanket. I feel like its protecting me from everyone else right really too old for this I’m almost 23 and I feel myself drifting into such a depression. Reading your stories lets me know I’m not being a drama queen (what my mom says) but I’m honestly hurt and trying so hard to figure a way out. Growing up with an alcoholic and drug addict dad and an emotionally and physically abused mother is the reason I’m soo f***in screwed up. My mom didn’t have the best parents they provided financially but never emotionally gave my mother wat she needed she never was told she was loved she was physically abused and she was molested by a family fathers mother chased after men and his father was nowhere around. So when my sister and I were born they vowed to do better with us but only ended up doing the opposite I wanted for nothing financially but emotionally I yearned to be listened to loved and understood but never got the positive attention only got that attention wen I did bad . If I wasn’t getting yelled at or beat my mom was cursing my dad.when my dad left it got worse my moms abuse got worse and I felt like I’d rather die than live for friends and fam I put on a front in fear they’d think my mom was a bad person I loved her I just wished she’d love me without yelling name calling and beating me and my sister.i went away to college but fell on hard times and had to come home and live with mom. She’s injured In an auto accident and as her pain worsens she’s treats us worse constant yelling name calling threats putting me down constantly. My anger had worsend because of her my temper is bad I can’t keep a relationship because I have a constant defense up and my blood boils over the smallest things.i always feel disrespected and put down.she has her own business and I am currently unemployed it’s the worst I just wanna get my independence back so I work for her to earn money during this I’m disrespected and overworked.she knows I need the money do she does wat she wants to me cuz she knows I can’t quit.i have soo Many dreams I need to make happen but I feel I’m always doing during the day wat she wants and needs .everything’s about her and her business her health her everything she’s self centered. I’m just living to follow her around like a low life college drop out failure.i also suffer from bdd body dysmorphic disorder I have weight loss problems and no matter what I always look fat to myself. It started my freshman year of college wen I started to gain weight and my mom made constant remarks about my fat. She’s also overweight and insecure and unhappy with her weight so she always put me and my sister down If we gained to much .because of her I’m am constantly depressed and obssesed about my appearance and weight.because of her auto accident she can’t work out so she won’t take me to the gym or help me wen I need a ride to car  broke down and I’m currently depending on her for transportation and wen I try to workout in the house she always cries n makes me feel bad cuz she can’t work out.its like I don’t have my own life and wen u try to talk to her about how I feel or If I feel mistreated she won’t listen she won’t own up or apologize for how much she’s mistreated me.she promised If I came back home I’d have her support tho reluctant she told me things be different and I did only to feel trapped again silenced again like I have no voice and no life of my own she feels like no one has the right to be sad or have a voice but her. And my homosexuality also is an issue whenever I’m in a relationship nothing but negative is spoken about it she says I am always in love and I need to stop but I can’t help but feel so alone. she’s overweight bitter alone and overworked and she wants us to feel like we owe her because of it.nowadays if she does something for us we always gotta pay her back and even after we do she will never let u forget what she did.she pretends to be sweet and humble in front of ppl but we know the truth. Crazy part is she said and believes that shes better than a good person but shes not humble at all.i can be talking about making my dreams come true n shell go yea cuz wen i get famous thatll make you famous smh wtf.idk I appreciate her providing but In all honesty I feel I’m lost and confused and feel alone because of her.she told me I used her all my life and my dad doesn’t give a f**kand im lucky she stayed to give a f** trying to find a job and move on because honestly I still feel like that little girl laying there with my eyes closed wishing myself somewhere else.she tells me all this stuff but never follows it herself I’m juz ready to leave. My mom is toxic I am depressed and idk just screwed.

  53. K says:

    I am 19 years old, and my father died when I was 4 years old. Prior to my father’s death, I believe that my family life was good. However, I have developed, over the years, a very dysfunctional relationship with my mum. I still live with my mum and my sister as I am in my first year of uni, everyday I feel like I am tredding on eggshells around my own mum. She can change her mood very quickly, she has never physically hurt me. But her words can be very hurtful and she is very secretitive, I can’t even ask her what she is up to the following day to make conversation without being met with rolling eyes, dirty looks, and blank answers. I had to find out she had depression by coming across pills, and she drinks ecessively throughout my childhood, becoming aggressive, rude and embarrassing.

    My sister and I are not ‘allowed’ to be stressed or hurt about anything because my mum believes that no one else in this world is more unfortunate than her. When my mums mum died, my nan, my sister and I were told that we had no right to cry because we couldn’t possibly be more hurt than she was.

    I love my mum, when she’s in a good mood everything is brilliant. But when she is in a bad mood I am her verbal punching bag. And I’ve developed anxiety because of this, I’m always anxious that my mums mood will change and she Will shout at me for doing harmless things… for making a silly mistake like forgetting to hang the washing out when she told me too. Sometimes I wonder whether I was a mistake, or whether I hinder her life because everything I do that cries out for praise is ignored, and our relationship is only ever good when it suits her.

    I also feel trapped, because if I stay at home any longer I am going the relationship between us will further decay. But if I leave I presume she will convince me that I am either too inadequate to live independently or, she will make me feel awful and guilty for ever considering moving out just yet. I feel I can’t win either away, as I want to move on and maybe that will create a healthier relationship with my mum. But, at the same time I don’t want to leave her, as I love her, I just dont always like who she becomes. I just hope that one day my mum will realise that other people do suffer more than her, that drink isn’t the solution and that my sister and I are here to help her not to be shouted at.

  54. Looking for unconditional love says:

    Whenever I start to think about how dysfunctional my family is I always say but someone has it worse than you….which sometimes helps but most of the time doesn’t. I googled dealing with difficult parents and came across this website. Of course as I started reading other people stories and reliving my own I began to cry. If I didn’t realize it before I realize it now, I AM MISERABLE because of my family. I am the only child of my mothers and multiple half siblings. When I was younger before 6, my mother for reasons I have yet to understand, took me over to live with a family member who took in other kids from the family, it was like we were orphans even though we weren’t. My mother would visit but not everyday…I remember each waiting to for a sign that she was arriving and I would get hopeful only to find out it wasn’t her and then would be disappointed. Repeatedly this continue for at least a year. I hold resentment towards her for this because the place she took me a person there sexually molested me…and I have yet to tell my mother of this because I don’t want to make her feel bad. So then she removed me from this home and into the hands of close friends where I was put in the same bed as two boys one younger one the same age and that was a terrifying experience. During my time there I was almost kidnap, of which I told my mom immediately only to have her laugh at me. We moved in with my father when I was almost 7 and I was physically and verbally abused until age 18-20. When I was 18 I left and went to college and didn’t want to come back…but when we had holidays and the dorms were closed I had to return home. When I graduated college at 24 in 2006 I had to move home because I didn’t find a job right away. The verbal abuse continued but the physical abuse ceased because I threatened to call the cops. I was so depressed during this time that I didn’t want to live anymore. On top of that I had to listen to my parents verbally abuse each other day in and day out and that was so stressful. I somehow found a way to cope, resilience somewhat, and found a job and moved out in 2008…those the longest two years of my life. I remember when I first got my apartment I moved in before my furniture did, I remember laying there on the carpet and thanked God for the silence and how serene it felt. I was so angry at my mother for the many times she had failed to protect me. The majority of the time I was being beaten my mother was present and when my lip bled she would help me clean it up after completely emotionless. my parents and I were not close and would fight and go for months without speaking. it was like we spent more time not speaking than spending precious moments together. My eyes has opened and I see a liar and hypocrite out of my mother and father. My mother who gives me advice that she doesn’t apply in her live. She tells me to forgive people and stay humble when she’s the complete opposite. I tell her how can you criticize me for doing something that you do all the time? I hold resentment towards my father for physically abusing me and making my youth miserable. on top of that I wasn’t allowed to really be social when I until right before I left for college so now I lack some social skills and don’t make many friends…I have trust issues, don’t care to get married and/or have children. I feel like I need major counseling as I am so screwed up. But if you walked by me on a good day you would never know. Oh did I mention that my parents are still unhappily married and I am still in the middle of their fights? the other day I told them that I needed to pull away until they figure out a way to communicate and work out their problems and that I didn’t want to be in the middle of it anymore.

  55. Heather says:

    I grew up in a very dysfunctional family, both my parents are alcoholics. They would drink and fight to the point where the neighbors would call the cops to come to our house. Once I turned about 11 yrs old, I started calling the cops on them too. Today I am 28 years old, my parents have been divorced for 13 years and I am still in the middle of every fight. I am getting married in 2 months, my father doesn’t even know my fiancé; who I’ve been with for 5 years, and my mother is refusing to go to the wedding if my father is attending. I have decided it’s in my best interest, for my own sanity, to cut ties to both of them. I have done it before over the years and I was always happier when I broke off communication to them. Somehow, someway they manipulated their way back into my life by going through family members and whatnot but I realize now that I am better off having no parents than having toxic parents. Thankfully my fiancé has an AMAZING family and I am happy to spend time with them.

  56. naomi says:

    When I was a single mother and didn’t really have any friends to visit, I used to ring my mum pretty much every day and would always be told not to ring so much because they were busy working, I was really depressed and lonely. I used to always ask if she was busy and if I could visit her. She’d always say she was busy and was working, but I’d go over her place any way just to get out the house.
    Wed always make plans to go shopping, but majority of the time when the day would come shed say she wasn’t feeling well enough to take me shopping. Or before shed make plans with me for certain days shed always have to ask my step father if she could go out with me or if I could go over there.
    Sometimes I’d make plans for her to have my daughter over her place and again the day would come and shed have to cancel but would always have to check with my dad before making plans to have my daughter over whether she could actually have her or not.
    Even if we did make plans my dad would always say don’t be out all day, we have to do work for the business. It’s like every time my mum and I were going to spend time together he’d always like to try and stop it, or gets jealous or something.
    But overall long story short my mother would always be too busy with work, too tired at night after working to visit me and my daughter, or would say she doesn’t feel well enough to do anything. But she has time on a Wednesday and Tuesday night to go to 8ball playing competition games, or always had time to visit her friends but not myself or my daughter. Everytime I call her up for help with anything all she ever says is why can’t this person do it or why can’t that person do it.
    But then I met my new partner in 2010 we have been together since the 14th feb 2010 and are still together today.
    Me and my partner’s mother Lee, have a really good relationship we go shopping every Thursday together, do lots of things together she is very supportive always there to listen to me, and says I am like a daughter to her, and treats my daughter as she is her own blood granddaughter.looks after my daughter during the work while i am studying and my partner is working.
    One day my daughters biological fathers, mother Ann who I also have an excellent relationship with her and so does my new partner, she had my daughter over night but was having a lot of troubles with her back, and asked if we could go and pick her up. I said I would but my partner said he didn’t really have the petrol to get there. So we rang my mother to see if she could help pick my daughter up.
    My mother said she was suffering with chest pains and had been to the doctors, she said the doctor had told her to go to the hospital. So she couldn’t help because she had to go to the hospital.
    My partner said quietly in the background ‘always got excuses about something’.
    She heard him and then said over the phone ‘Tell him if he doesn’t shut up I will come over there and knock him one’. Which I felt was just not appropriate to say to anyone.
    We then rang lee and asked if she could help and was happy to do so.
    My mother then rang lee, and said thanks for picking Chloe up, lee said I don’t mind and my mum said are you sure I feel a bit guilty now. We found out later that my mother didn’t even go to the hospital and said she felt too stressed to go to the hospital.
    Next time my mother came over she said hello to my partner, he didn’t answer her.
    She said she was that upset over this she almost left.
    Then when my partner had to go away for work for a week my daughter and I went to stay with lee at her place, my mother asked when we’d be home she said i want to visit you but I know how Daniel feels about me, I said well we will be over lees for the week you can visit there she wont mind, she said ok I will visit you there tomorrow.
    Then tomorrow came and she didn’t visit. Later that week I got a message saying you always have time for everyone else but not me, I wrote back well I said you could visit on Monday but you never came over, she said well I cant believe you just said that. I said ive always tried to make plans with you but your always busy working, I said all you ever wanted was to see me happy with someone doing things with my life and now I have a life your not happy.
    And there has been many situations like this since I have been with my new partner. it seems like she is jealous of everything now, but when I was never busy she didn’t have any time for me or my daughter and now we are doing things even though she isn’t busy nights in the week she doesn’t have time or doesn’t feel well enough to visit us. but if we are busy it’s a crime and we don’t want to see her.I don’t visit her or my step father anymore at their place because every time I did he would always change and make the time I spent there horrible.
    I need advice on what I should do.

  57. Arturo Cenevas says:

    I am 34 and my parents are very strict and conservative. Some bad financial decision moved me back to my parents place, and even touhg I love them and I respect them a lot, and also thank them for letting me stay for a few bucks, I truly can not dissappear the bad feelings that sometimes I have against them.
    Specially my dad is very methodical and hipocrite, with double moral, adding to that the fact that they never accepted my homosexuality, I have been living a few hard months.

    I will move as soon as I can, this is a toxic relationship, where they preten to tell me what exactly I have to do, and they mean no harm, but the way of mind closeness, with the arbitrary decision over all of my life, for example, how to dress, how to talk, where to go, etc, it really sucks!

  58. sj says:

    I googled “How to deal with difficult parents” and was directed to this website. Misery loves company, what can I say. I am 48 and today my mom indirectly told me that she thinks my wife is a freeloader who wants her money. Of course she never trusted any of my decisions, and this is just the latest example. My brother has always been the apple of her eye and his kids are favored over my sister’s kids. I am very successful yet no matter how successful I am, I will never be seen in the same light that my brother is. Reading everyone’s comments made me feel better. I know I am not alone and I also know a lot of you have it a lot worse than me.

    A monk once said he was very grateful to his parents because they gave him two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth. In other words he was grateful, they gave him life, but he did not have the time or energy to get sucked into all this terrible guilt and suffering. Hard as it is we have to move on
    I wish that we all find ways to become free of this suffering.

  59. Help! says:

    okay… so im 21 . I dont really remember EVER being happy during a child. While growing up she always brought in different men and ALWAYS fought with them …. like fists fights all the time as a child i remembered hate seeing that..and now I am still living with her now and plan on moving out because it is just to crazy to stay here with her. She accuses me of sleeping with her boyfriends and they arent even cute…she is sooo insecure. vshe doesnt have any friends or goes out…she doesnt have any hobbies… she calls me names like B**** which really hurts me and im not. Whenever her boyfriends want to come out she tells me to cover up when imnot even showing anything… and i just want to be comfortable you know in my pajamas and relaz without having to worry about her nagging at me all the time. As a child she abbused me witht he belt. She’s pulled me by my hair at one point and left me with bruises. She consistently yells and whnever she gets in a fight wit her boyfriend she takes things out on me when she has no one else to talk to. I’ve never really had my father around…which is fine now i accept that… but i dont know how it is to be a mother.. i nkind of just want her out of my life now… after what she put me through as a child i just dont want anything to do with her anymore. She really is mommy dearest and she is so self centered….she ALWAYS thinks im talking about her when im talking over the pone which im not!!! she ‘s not even interesting to talk about until now i cant take it anymore… she is such a B**** I hate how she doesnt even help me out with school or anything.. i nver had a college fund … i got a junkie ass car that i cant even fix and its broken now she doesnt want to help i never had birthday parties or a quince or sweet 16 or whatever she never put me through any kind of extra curricular activities as a kid…she always talked shit about the friends that i had… now i dont have any friends because of her. things are just weird between me n her ..

  60. Lisa says:

    I am over 40 and have lived with my parents all my life. My mom passed away about 5 years ago, my dad staring seeing someone 3 days after my mom was put in the ground, he started seriously dating her 3 months later and asked her to marry him. They married exactly the same day that Mom was put in the ground, one year later. They divorced 5 months later, there were issues. I stayed with them, was the hardest thing I had ever done, as I loved my mom very much, I had planned on leaving December of the year they got divorced. I changed my mind, not because I did not have money to move, but because I would feel guilty if I left my dad. After I reached 21 I wanted to move out but Mom and Dad would make me feel guilty if I left. Since my dad’s divorce, he has had a few women come and go, he tells me he wants me to stay with him, even if he remarries, I told him, that I could not live with another woman, that I will leave, he gets very upset. How do I handle these issues of anger, I don’t want anyone moving in and yet I can’t leave, I know my Dad and I know he can not hold a relationship. He wants me with him and his woman all the time, he wants me to have dinners with them, do outings with them. I asked him why is it so important that I be there all the time. He had no answer for me, and gets upset with him. But everytime I think of having to meet some woman, I get this anger in me, that grows and drives me crazy.

  61. 26 and working to get out says:

    I’m a twenty six year old guy that has difficult parents.

    I recently had to move back in with my parents after quitting a job. The job required me to lie and intentionally provide bad services to customers. Our customers had to pay thousands and thousands more than they should have. Sounds like a bad deal, right? As a result I’m living with my parents.

    My parents act like I don’t exist. My parents work most days so I don’t see them very much(a lot of the time this is a good thing). When they come home they immediately turn on the tv and watch it until they go to bed. Occasionally I’ll try and talk to them while they are watching tv, but, I’m usually told to shutup. This kind of treatment made me pretty angry, because it has been going on my entire life. Well, I let em have it pretty good one night and they deserved every word. Since then, they claim I have a rage problem. I was level headed enough to entertain the thought and bought some anger management books. In reading these books I learned alot about anger management. The most important thing I learned was that I didn’t have a problem. Whenever I have a problem with my folks I always try to talk the problem out. Even if the problem is small their response is usually a life altering ultimatum. They’ve threatened to throw me out of the house countless times. EX. My mom was supposed to babysit my nephew and had conflicting events in one case.She needed me to help her out. I had plans and told her I couldn’t do it. Her response was to threaten to kick me out of the house and never help me again. Needless to say, an extreme reaction.

    My parents take financial advantage of me by putting me in crazy situations. Once they figure out a way to corner me I have to give them my money. After my money is gone they leverage me because I have no money. I’m starting to wonder if I should just move out and make it work. I don’t think I have enough money to make it work,but, know this cycle will continue. I know I won’t get anywhere while I’m living with them, they won’t let me. Every time I start to do well they suck me back down. The sad part is, they are wealthy and I’m a poor, working, studying young adult. They are mooching off of me. It makes me sick.
    I have to buy my own food because they don’t eat at home. Then they eat my food.

    Every book I’ve read is telling me to move out. I just haven’t been able to scrape together enough cash to make it happen. I guess I’ll just have to work harder, because it needs to happen.

  62. LJ says:

    I have toxic parents too, something I have only just let myself believe and I’m 45!, always blamed myself for the relationship disaster with my parents, with consequent serious low self esteem and debilitating shyness. They also make a scene/create a drama during happy times. This is really sad as I am now too old for the stress and I have had to distance myself from my Mum and can no longer see my Dad. The hurt goes deeper because the upset comes when times are good and its like a slap in the face, when they don’t speak to me for months and spread malicious gossip through the rest of the family. Just during the last twelve months I have had to make the decision to keep my distance for good for my own sanity. Toxic parents cannot change. You have to toughen up, let go of the unhealthy dependency that often goes with abusive parent/child relationships, face outwards and live your own life. But also be aware of the damage caused by an unhappy child/parent relationship, being aware of how you feel is good advise and accepting the past which cannot be changed. I have to do a lot of positive thinking to keep on track and its tough somethimes,but it is worth it for my childrens sake, a lovely husband and a successful career – Just completed a degree!(and the parents are not talking to me – again – but hay, their loss not mine!)

  63. sammy says:

    SLS, I cannot believe it, you have just described my life, we are even the same age. only I’m still pregnant at the moment, my mum is making dramas, ignoring me, telling other family members lies so they are on her side, and its making me ill, as I want to cut all ties now, I have put up with this time and time again, but my boyfriend is so lovely he’s desperate for me to try (yet again) he thinks I will regret cutting my parents out my life (my dad is worse) but I am and I don’t want to upset my boyfriend by not trying, I’m exhausted with the constant worrying when and what the next drama she’ll create, its making me so depressed and ill, I just want to enjoy my liflife for once.

  64. SLS says:

    Your article was helpful and made me realize I am not the only person living with parents that are just not there for me.
    I grew up with a narcasisstic mother who only thinks of herself. She is cruel and if you do not agree with her or make her center of attention you will pay the price. My father has just given up and makes me angry for never sticking up for me. I am successful today as an adult and happily married. My husband and I are expecting our first baby together. My mother always creates drama during happy times! At five months of pregnancy my mother picked a ridiculous fight and refuses to speak to me and my family (she is threatened by my happiness). It has been so hard on me and my husband. I feel so happy in my personal life with my husband and baby on the way but feel as if my mother should want to be there for me and to meet her new grandchild. I go back and forth to end the stand off she has created but have dealt with this crazy behavior of hers for over 38 years now! Christmas, my Birthday, and two hospital stays have passed and I have still not heard from her. Part of me wants my mom to apologize and be there for me and the other part wants to never look back at the horrible treatment I have experienced from her all of my life. Life is hard living without loving parents makes it even harder. I will never act like this towards my children and believe this has made me the empathetic loving person I am today!

  65. Confused says:

    Thank you for your article. It is nice to at least know others struggle like I do.

    My storey:

    I grew up with an alcoholic father and cyclical mother (sometimes she was great). I have worked past my childhood (I think). Where my challenge comes in is my adult life. I am an only child and am 31 now and live a country away from my parents. I am successful by most definitions, but still struggle with challenges in my own life to keep me on track. 6 years ago, my grandmother passed away and my mother “lost it”. I took care of everything regarding my grandmothers passing and tried repeatedly to help and talk to my mother. After a series of drunk nights from my mother including some suicide attempts and a most concerning shooting between her and my father on Christmas eve, I cut down my interaction time selfishly because I couldn’t take the stress anymore and it was too much. My interaction was about once ever 2 mos. This was fine with me and I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. A couple years later I moved internationally, at this point life with my parents got worse again. My mother wants my calls weekly but I have nothing to say and I get upset by most of them. Then recently she had a nervous breakdown and her therapist has been emailing me issues I am supposed to fix. The challenge I have is sadly I don’t believe the stuff my mother tells her therapist because my mom has a pattern of chronic lying. Similarly I know my parents fight, have a bad relationship, and have many many financial issues (of which they don’t help themselves). I spent the first 25 years of my life taking care of them and trying to help their relationship and give them financial advise to no avail. They made me who I am of which I am greatful but…. I feel like enough is enough and at some point they need to take care of themselves I have tried, a lot and I just don’t know what to do anymore. They don’t want to hear my logic and I can’t take the stress they bring to me. I feel like an awful daughter so it’s like I have no way to win. I either talk with them and feel like crap or don’t and feel like the bad daughter. I just want to live my life. There is more, as I am sure there is with everyone else, but in short I just don’t know what I should do. For my sanity I keep the communications minimal but there is no one to take care of them an they haven’t prepared for any kind of retirement.

  66. AJ says:

    So I have read some people’s issues and comments and it’s crazy how parents are supposed to love you no matter what. If you are doing positive things for yourself I feel you are on the right track. So a few years ago, I saw my mom wasn’t doing to well in her living situation and I asked her to live with me(I ended up paying most of the bills) Two and a hlaf years later she is still with me and there was some bad things said. Moving ahead,I met my fiance and he moved in. OMG she went at it with him calling him all kinds of names and I said I’m moving out. She stated tha she would (she didnt). So I ended up applying for another job and my fiance and I moved. Moving forward again.I told her she had to get off my cell phone plane and she said it was fine. She never calls back and I had no idea where she was. Finally I got into her bank acct to see if she was actually alive and to find out, she was using her card. I SAID IM DONE!!! She doesn’t contact me for two months. She contacts me by text (looks like on accident) I ask where is she?? NO RESPONSE!!! So I’m like ok cool! So now I’m getting married in three months and she didn’t once ask to help or seem happy at all. I can’t even stand looking at SAY YES TO THE DRESS, because the mother/daughter moments of happiness wasn’t there for me. I have been so damn stressed over this. My fiance is a great guy , he’s sweet, funny, he’s not a millionaire, but he works his a$$ off to pay the bills and I’m happy with that. My friends say that I have replaced her with him bc I am the only child and a female. This has been so hurtful and now I may have a medical issue that may be cancerous and this will add more stress in my life and the wedding is so close. I have thought of seeing a counselor, but I think they will put me on pills or something and I don’t want to end up a drone. I think I have a bit of an anxiety. Depending on my diagnosis, I might have to see someone, because I am a little sensitive right now and it hurts my relationship at times, because my attitude isn’t right at times. As for my mom, I’ll text her the address and time of the wedding and it’s up to her, but of course I’ll be dead a$$ hurt if she doesn’t show up and I’ll have to tell everyone a lie on why she isn’t there (sigh) THIS IS BS and not nice of her as a mother.

  67. Ali says:

    I’m 23 and I really do not understand my mother. Sometimes she comes across so loving and generous, someone I love spending time with but the rest of the time she picks a fight with me for no reason. When we fight she is not my mother she says things that no mother should ever say and she has the most vicious temper. she never apologies or takes responsibility for anything she says or does. My father knows what she is doing is wrong but always makes excuses for her. He says I am too sensitive and to just ignore it. Most of the will ignore me or take her side just so she doesn’t flip out at him too. We do make up after these arguments but its only a matter of time before it happens again. I am an only child and not in a position to move out. I just feel alone and trapped in this house and I feel like this is wearing me down. Im glad I read these other stories. Its nice to know there are other out there who can realte.

  68. Jennifer says:

    Wow, I never thought I would read stories from so many people who are going through similar things as me. I am a 29 year old who was forced out onto the streets as a young kid and only child of a single parent who has multiple mental issues and now many physical issues as well. I left home at 15 because of all the fighting with my mther who I am now realizing is very toxic. She would get on drunken binges and take anything out on me that she felt at that time not realizing that her actions made me wonder why she had even given birth. I took to abusing myself with drugs to numb the pain and didn’t have enough self-esteem or self-worth to think I deserved better. I went through a lot growing up, which all of us has, and I realize now I AM worth more and deserve better.Every day it’s a battle to counteract all the negative things from my past, but I’m doing it. The only hard thing now is that my mom is “ill” not getting out of bed for days at a time because she thinks she is coming down with something. I recently moved home because of the recession and have taken her place in caring for my grandmother and in doing all of the normal everyday routines in the house- cooking, cleaning etc. At times I feel like “God, this is not my responsibility!” And it gets hard especially when I think back to the childhood she gave me which was not good at all. I read these comments and it really makes me feel sane to know that I’m not the only one with a nutty parent or toxic parent. Recently she tried to say that I cause her stress and the stress is why she is sick. I was appalled at this, thinking about everything I do for her now even considering the things she did not when I was a kid. I thought to myself, what stress? She stays in her room day in and day out while I make the meals do all the cleaning, not to mention I am trying to get my AS degree and take care of my grandma. I guess what gets me through all this is knowing that I am a better person than that and that I’m not alone even though it feels like it sometimes.I am really grateful reading this article and everyones comments and I thank you all.

  69. Lara says:


    I have always had problems with my parents. I find them really toxic.

    Most visible problems were when i was teenager. My father hasn’t ever liked his children when we were teenagers. In my teenage years, we fought alot. He purposely annoyed me, picked up a fight with me, so cause i was teenager, of course i would fight too.
    I told my mother and asked her to talk to my father about it, but nothing happened, because she didn’t believe me. To her my dad has been her center of life since she met him. I remember when i fought with my father when i was teenager, my mom told me to stop and behave.
    I called my father an idiot, that was his name from 13 to 17 years old me.
    We both apologised to each other when i was around 18 or so. Then couple years passed and now he has started his behaviour again towards me, thought it’s in more smaller capacity, but it’s there. The most hurtful things he say is about my weight.

    Then how my mother is.
    In the past couple years, i have realised how toxic she has been since i was a child. My anxiouty started when i was child, the first anxiouty i remember when i went to kindergarten. I was very depended on my mother, so when she left i became really anxious and cried after her for long time. I already then had social anxiety and the need for my mother to be everywhere, i don’t remember what that anxietys name is in english.

    The next most anxious event was when i went to school in the age of 7. I cried atleast couple months in school, cause i was anxious.

    And when these things happened, my parents did nothing to help me out.

    When i was teenager my depression and OCD started. I lived with that hell will i was 18, with the thought “I have to live, because of animals”. I never have felt that i have been important to any human being.

    When i was 18, i wanted to finally get help, so i went to psychologist. In that appointment, my wall finally broke and only thing i could do was cry and told how i felt and all. The psychologist literally ran to the phone to get me to doctor. I went to doctor and he diagnosed that i have depression and wrote a receipt and appointment to emergency phychologist center.
    With all this had happened in the day, i told my mother and she said that she cannot believe it and told that be careful that you won’t get to mental hospital. The way she told me i got scared of the treatment and all. My mother didn’t give any kind of worry nor support to me than.

    When i was in the emergency phychologist center, the phychologist that i had diagnosed that i have middle hard depression and OCD. And there started my treatment, and gladly i didn’t get to the mental hospital.

    My mother was very ashamed of the diagnosis, because of that i became very ashamed of my condition too.

    Gladly i’m alot better now, btw :)

    Then i continue…
    When i was 19 my parents huge relationship problem started. Since than my mother took me as her phychologist and told her problems with my father to me. And cause she was my mother, i couldn’t say no to her.
    Of course with my own condition being like it was, my mother telling their marriage problems to me, started take it’s cost from me too.
    I told my nurse and she said to tell my mom to not talk about her personal problems to me. So i told that to my mother and she okayed it.
    For awhile she didn’t tell me anything, but it started again.
    I told her to stop again and said that it isn’t healthy for me, she okayed that time too. But never ended it.

    And now to this daily life. She still tries to tell her problems to me and asks me to keep secret stuff she has done.
    And now that i live alone, she still tries to monopolize my life. Example she tried to get me job just few days ago, which i never had asked her to do, cause i can handle that kind of stuff myself and right now i don’t need a job, cause i’m fulltime student, so i have handful in studying.
    So because of this i have already stressed 4 days. 3 days i stressed about what should i do, the options were “Will i accept the job to blease my mother and start stressing when i have time for homework and projects” or “Will i decline the job and take my mothers hate towards me”. I choose the option 2 and declined the job, my mother was very angry to me, when she heard me thinking of option 2 and said to me “You know, you cannot get job that easily these days”.

    And now on the 4th day, i’m stressing to even face my mother after declining the job.

    I always hate it, when in these kind of situations it should be me who is angry to my mom and my mom should be reflegting, but it has always been the other way around and i hate it.
    There has been alot of these kind of situations, and always my mom believes it’s all my fault.

    As i said in one point that i have realised how toxic my parents are in the last few years, i have realised how selfcentered they are. Especially my mother, she thinks the whole world runs around her and she runs her world around my dad.

    I have also seen how childish she is. I have been to more than few situations, where i have thought that she is more unmature than i’m.

    So this is my story of my life and my toxic parents.

    I really want to change from this, cause i want to have more courage to actually fight back my mother and not always take the blame on me.

    I want to have more courage, that i wouldn’t have social anxiouty anymore.

    I want to have more self-esteem to know that there actually is some human being, who could value me as who i’m and who wouldn’t want to lose me.

    How can i save myself from this turmoil?
    How can i make my mom to realise, that my life is my life and not hers?
    How can i stop my father from being like that to me?
    And if there is any other tips, than i’m more then pleased to hear them.

  70. miralle says:

    my mother would not leave alone she is yelling at me all the time, so we have this big fight and we were yelling, i did not controle myself i took the dishes and i start to threw theme one after onother and i spit on her, now i feel so bad and we are always like this. i wanna say sorry but i know that if i did we will have another big fight. help!!!!

  71. Devin says:

    I am 16, i live with my dad and two brothers. My dad is a crazy person.. he yells at me over the simplest of things, and when i mess up on something he freaks out like i do that every day… he took me to counseling because he thought i was cutting myself, the counselor gave some idea for me and him to try and not be so confrontational, but he ignores them (which causes me to as well, if it wont work why try it?). I plan on getting out of his house by the time i am 18 that way i dont have to worry about this hell. he is unfit to be a father, and was unfit to even help give birth to me. He doesnt treat me like his son, he treats me like a maid, “Clean the bathrooms!” “Do the dishes!” “Take out the trash!” i know everyone has those as chores, but im the middle child and he ONLY tells me to do them, everytime its me. I have a job, so my grades suffer, because i have to go to work after school, and after work he has me make dinner for the everyone, then with the little time i have left its ususally something else, do the dishes clean this clean that!! im a germ-a-phobe already. he said he doesnt want me to hurt myself, but honestly he doesnt give me much reason not to.

  72. Sally says:

    I am 19 years old, and everybody ignores me on the outside, and at home everybody calls me crazy.
    It feels like my heart is breaking and nobody is there to patch it up, but we all forget that we have ourseleves.
    Sometimes you’ll have no support but yourself, and during these times of family wars and the world becomes ice cold, but if you can make it out alive you’ll learn not to put up with anybody.

    At the end of the day you, and only you, ahve to live with yourself, and if you’re content with yourself and love yourself that’s all that matters, screw the rest !

    I hope everybody else who is struggling will take a deep breath and be thankful that you’re alive and look past the others as dead toxic weight!

  73. Amelia says:

    I have a mother who will not leave me alone. I dont want to get the police involved. I am a happily married woman. Homeless, because my mother kicked me out 4 days after my 19th birthday. I have told her to leave me alone. Im honestly afraid for mine and my husbands life. We are trying to get out of town…but we have no car, no money, and no job. Alabama is the worst state to look for a job. We are trying to get to Alaska where his mother and father will gladly support me and him, and we will both have a job and a home…there is also a posibility that I might be pregnant. I know it wasnt the smartest choice, but it wasnt exactly expected. If there is anyone out there willing to either help us out, or give us some advice it would be gladly appreciated. My mother is a drug abuser, an achoholic, and she is bipolar. And dont get me started on her boyfriend. He is much worse. Please if there is anyone out there who is willing to help us?

  74. Tre says:

    OMFG ! Iana said, “Use prayer it works. You don’t have the strength or answers. God does.” This is a TOTAL BULLS**T answer. Prayer DOES NOTHING. You DO HAVE the strength ! “God” – or whatever you decide to worship is NOT a remedy for all of your problems.

    Iana’s comment resembles a dysfunctional parent, more than a way to deal with totally screwed up parents.

  75. Hannah says:

    Thank you so much for this article and for all the comments that people took the time to write. As a 22 year old in a very dark place right now, it was so therapeutic to read of others’ strife with difficult parents. I’m only coming to realize now how much my parents have tainted my mental well-being. They definitely have an other-worldly power over my mind and emotions that I just cannot overcome when I am at home with them. I think being an only child could have a lot to do with this. Thank you everybody for being so sincere and open it means so much to me to know that I am not alone. My love to you all.

  76. Jenna says:

    Gotta love a Mother who tells you to “drop dead” on Christmas Eve. I have no energy to write more. Maybe later. God bless us one and all 😉

  77. DMarie says:

    Please excuse my spelling and punctuation in my post, I was typing very freely and quickly :)

  78. DMarie says:

    Genkigrad: Your post resignates with me so much. I just returned home from a trip visiting my parents and brother yesterday, and have been trying to wrap my brain around continuing a relationship with my family without sacraficing my happiness. I too am in my late thirties, single, never married, and just finished up my Master’s degree at age thirty-five. My parents/brother either do not understand who I really am, or do not care enough to try, in my opinion. Even more painful, sometimes I feel they do not even like who I am because I did not follow the acceptable path in life like my brother did, i.e get married, have kids, and work in a great paying job (he is also miserable and an alcoholic). I do work full-time and and am still pursuing my own spirituality, but the fact of the matter is that I am not like them, and what makes me happy, does not make them happy. As the way I see it, however, no one in my family is ever happy, even with the nice houses and big savings accounts. I just wanted you to know that reading your post helped me, as today is Dec 19th and I have been distraught and crying about this subject since my three hour drive home yesterday. It helps knowing I am not alone. I love my family very much and know that I don’t want to completely sever ties, but it is so hard being so misunderstood by the ones who I want love and acceptance from the most…even as an adult, at age thirty-seven, I still look to them for approval. I have decided (after two days of crying) that I must put myself first and accept that they will most likely never understand me in the way I want them to, and try my best to forgive them. Good luck to you :)

  79. genkigrad says:

    This is a very interesting discussion but I am still searching for ways to both continue to have a relationship with my parents and to accept whatever that relationship might be. I am in my late 30’s and single. My parents have always doted on my younger brother more than me…something I learned to deal with as a child but that has recently resurfaced now that he and his wife are expecting their first child (my parents’ first grandchild). The difference is that my brother has hit milestones that my parents can understand and relate to in adulthood. I have not hit those same milestones – I moved away from home, lived in 3 different countries fro 8 years, went on to graduate school, took up my own religious and spiritual views, etc. Now, as I approach the end of my PhD work and get ready for the next phase in my life, I know my parents are proud of me but they don’t understand me. I try to take time and explain to them who I am, the questions I want them to ask me so that they might understand me better and I try to ask those questions of them – to model those questions for them – but it is to no avail. Either they just don’t get it or they just don’t care. We are in a cycle of hurt, resentment, misunderstanding, and anger…or at least I am… they tend to blow it off with “we’re sorry you feel that way” or “we didn’t know that would upset you.” I guess my questions are (1) How do we, as adults, build relationships with parents who think they know us and assume to know who we are when we are really different people than they imagine us to be? (2) How do we teach ourselves to appreciate whatever relationship we end up having with our parents even if it is one we don’t really want?

  80. lonely says:

    I am 27 years old, my parents have been divorced since I was 5. Both have gone on to find other life partners.

    Right now I am working to regain mental balance and wellness – after a complete emotional breakdown recently, I have been suffering depression and anxiety disorder.

    Around the time I broke down I approached both my parents seperately for advice and help, explaining to them my volitile / fragile state of mind. My mother has made it clear she “doesn’t need to take on” my “shit” (she’s a very busy lady), and my father’s advice is to “go live a life – you have none.”

    In a time when I feel like I may not survive without the support of those who might still care for me, I am struggling to find any at all. I feel so daunted to face this journey of recovery alone.

  81. Bee says:

    My dad is humiliating.
    I am 27 so i am well into adulthood myself. The article was really helpful.
    My dad went through a midlife crisis about 5 years ago, and since then he considers himself very spiritual (meditation, etc). I’m fine with that, however he is so humiliating.
    He runs a small shop in my little hometown, it’s the sort of town where everyone knows eachother.
    He insists on telling all of his customers about spirituality, tells them to take up meditation, he said to some stranger yesterday that any ailment can be healed by the power of the mind, even cancer. It is so embarrassing. He also believes in aliens and tells

  82. meagain says:

    I am a 47yr old divorced woman who spent the better part of her life trying to gain parental acceptance. I was raised predominantly by my grandparents (thankfully!) due to an emotionally absent mother and a workaholic father who took solice in working 14hr days just to get out of the responsibility of raising kids. It is only now, after so many years that both parents want to spend time with me; they cannot understand why I don’t open up to them, why I don’t come over more often, or why I appear somewhat distant. I remained single for most of my divorced life; years ago i made the mistaken of introducing them to a guy I was dating and from that point on, they both made my life miserable, to the point I broke off the relationship. Recently, I was fortunate enough to meet someone special, someone who genuinely cares for me. He was around during a difficult time in my life, in which I lost a family member. As a result, he came to the funeral home to be by my side, and my parents continuously made snide comments and gave dirty looks as he stood by my side. I wouldn’t have introduced him to my family had it not been for this family loss, especially since they worked so hard to break up my previous relationship. Eventually, they exchanged a few pleasantries which didn’t last more than 5 minutes. The next day, my father pulled me aside and said he doesn’t want my boyfriend to come around anymore. He said he was happy I found someone, but he doesn’t want him part of family functions. So, here I am, at a crossroad: what do I tell my boyfriend? I’ve met most of his family, and they’ve accepted me. I, on the other hand, cannot bring him over to my functions because my parents have a hard time dealing with the fact that I’m happily involved with someone. Most normal parents would relish in the thought that after being alone for so many years, their daughter found someone who makes her happy. My parents, on the other hand look at the situation as if it’s a threat. Anyone have any suggestions as to how I should handle this?

  83. oldthing says:

    I am almost 67 and I had difficult parents and my son aged 32 thinks we are difficult parents as well. My father was physically violent to me and my mother and my mother was needing me as a carer as a child for a lot of the time. My mother did not protect me from my father. My mother father did not like me. I was scapegoated and rejected and no wonder I did the same to them.

    My son says I keep checking up on him and do not believe he can cope alone. He doesn’t that is the problem and is a worry because he gets so low just laying in bed, no friends, no job and getting in a mess. He has o/dosed three times 12 years ago so it is not without cause for concern.

    I still feel the effects of the poor parenting I had and believe that is why I did not do better as a parent either.

  84. Amanda says:

    My names Amanda. I’m 17 almost 18 years old and I’m having some issues with my dad. He has been in and out of my life since I was really young and I lived with my mom for 15 years. I got pregnant at 15 years old and moved out of my moms house into my boyfriends house. When s**t got hard and I became homeless and pregnant I went on a desperate search for my dad. I found him and I called him and told him the situation I was in. But instead of being fully honest with him I took out some things that should have been in the description (arrests and charges). He then brought me to his house (out of state) and me and my boyfriend lived there. He kicked out my boyfriend while I was still pregnant and I had a rough time dealing with that. I then gave birth to my son and his dad got arrested for things I was not aware of throughout our relationship. My son passed away recently and my dad always tells me that if I was a better mom then it wouldn’t of happened. But it was natural causes. His heart stopped in his sleep which I had no control over and I was at work when it happened. I always had a job at times I had two, I went to school to get my GED and I was looking into different online colleges. Now, I would really like to go back to Jersey to make a better future for myself and get a better job because where I live now, there’s no good jobs and my dad told me I have to move out 2 months after I turn 18 and I turn 18 in 30 days from today! It also doesn’t help that my birthday is 11 days after christmas so he will think that I used him to get the presents and then leave. The main thing I’m struggling with is telling him that I want to go back without him pitching a fit about it and then telling me that all I did was use him for money just like my mom did but she really didn’t. He sees things differently then I did and he doesn’t listen to anyone but himself. He always thinks everythings about him and nobody can have a different opinion, we have to agree with him on everything. I have a different perspective and I want him to see it without being criticized for it and ran down by him. He is a liar, manipulator, and controlling and I need some help/advice on how to deal with this before I get in a bind. Please help out somehow.

  85. AJ says:

    Hey Laurie, thanks for the article – you’ve certainly touched on how I feel about my parents, especially my Mom. I’m grateful that you’ve been able to write about this as it makes me feel less alone in dealing with my difficult parent.

    My story:
    I’ve slowly been realising and coming to terms with how bad my Mom is since I was about 15. A series of positive influences – at school, a friend at college, a boyfriend and recently a supervisor – always treated me with respect and helped me to realise what it feels like to have a relationship with someone who treats you properly. Having those experiences made me question (and try to change) how my Mom behaves towards me, but it has not really worked. She still criticizes me, nags and patronizes me, tries to take credit for my successes (but blames me for my failures) and interferes in the big decisions in my life. She says she loves me and she can be quite charismatic when she chooses, but she is unpredictable and I sometimes feel like she doesn’t have my best interests at heart at all.

    Seeing as she hasn’t responded to my repeated requests to change her behaviour over the last nearly 15 years I’ve basically given up on her. I think the truth is I’ve lost my trust in her – nothing she does now can repair the damage because I feel like I have forgiven her one too many times.

    Now I keep a distance from her, and read articles like this to give me moral support when I have to deal with her. It is hard but I think I need to be realistic and honest with myself – this woman does not help me to be the best person I can be, and so often the relationship is all about her. There have even been outsiders who’ve unwittingly confirmed that the way my Mom acts is not ok.

    I’ve coped by allowing myself “therapy days” where I use my free time to “get over” the disappointment and anger I feel – reading articles, going for walks, writing in my journal all help me to remember that I deserve better, and that it is not my fault she acts the way she does. Despite normally being very upfront and honest, I will keep secrets and avoid telling her things if I need to, in order to keep my privacy, and to safeguard the things I care about. I also keep a lookout for role models who can help me to reset my idea of “normal.” I have needed antidepressants a few times, and done some CBT as well, but (the good news is) it does get easier with time and with practice. Really.

    Good luck to everyone else who is on a similar journey!

  86. depressed says:

    I have a lot of resentment and anger towards my mother and sister. Since childhood, I can not remember a day when my mother didn’t tell me that she hated me, or screamed at me. My mother has been a very critical, negative and abusive mother towards me. It is so hard to spend time with her now that I have my own family. I have permanent emotional scars that are from my mother. Because of how she treated me. She has molded me into a person who is very insecure and depressed. The physical and emotional abuse is difficult to forget. She always favored my younger sister, and spoils her. I have always felt that my mother hated me. She even planned my wedding and picked out my dress even when she knew that I was not happy. My mother has a lot of money, and will say abusive things to me, and then turn around and buy my girls a gift (like this is going to make up for how she treats me).

    After many, many special events and holidays that have been destroyed by my mother and sister (due to screaming at me), I have finally made the decision not to attend family events; especially if my sister is there. My sister and my mother gang up and treat me very badly. I am tired of holidays ruined. My children are getting older and I don’t want anymore precious holidays ruined for them.

    I don’t believe that I could ever forgive my mother. I will just keep my distance and be civil towards her. She causes me to be depressed and stressed which causes me great anxiety. I have learned that I need to start putting myself first for once and stop trying to please her.

    I have to stop allowing myself to be her emotional punching bag.
    Sometimes, you have to realize that this relationship is unhealthy and that you can’t fix it. I will not allow her or my sister to treat me badly anymore. I have my own family that I love dearly. And, I have to put them first. If this means not spending holidays with the family, then so be it. I am at my last straw and I can’t deal with this drama anymore.

  87. robin says:

    My life Growing up was crazey my parents have been divorse sense iwas 4yrs and iam 33 now but my motherhas gotten to be hateful to people she has been married twice also divorse she drinks alot she always find stuff wrong with other people does not support anybody on what they do she will blame me and my sister for her problem we r both happly married she wants everybody to feel sorry for her my grandmother on my dad side hada stroke long time ago she is wheel chair bound from it my grandpa die in 2009 of heart failure he was 89 she will say grandmother yesterday iwas talking to her i told my friends dad died she said oh well he has money me and my husband r going through fertility treatment she does not support me i want her n life but i am tired of the drama please help

  88. Sravya says:

    I’m a 15 year old and I have messed up parents. My grades are fine, I get mostly A’s, the occasional B, I take AP classes and everything. As a child my parents were never real close too me. At first it bugged me, but i got over it. Now, at age 15, my parents are attempting to come back into my life. They mess my schedule up, saying i dont spend enough time with them (and when i do spend time with them they treat me like a little kid) It bugs me. They wont take no for an answr thoug. Often to get them to listen i have to yell at them, which gets me in more trpouble. And they go on sometimes hours long lectures on respecting them. How do I say no and ask to be left alone in a respctful way?

  89. CJ says:

    I’m a high school student and I have bad grades. My mom always talks to me about how important is being successful in life. But I never listen,I mean i try at school but the thing I just hate is that when i can’t do something i just give up and get an “F”. I want my mom to be proud of me. So, from this day on, I make a pledge to myself that I will be successful and make my mom proud. I know I can do it.

  90. Bttf says:

    Hi am a high school girl at the âge of 14.
    I got a problem. I really love my mother!…
    I love so much!! She has always been there for me I feel like if anything happen to her I will die!! B
    But that’s not really my problem my problem is that I have to live with my father. Ever since I was six years I have always seen my mother and father fight each other. It affected us all ( me and my brothers). They got divorced and now live in separate countries. I’m the only one who is still in touch with him
    I have to live with my father so I can go school. Hehe it’s sad although it’s funny just like
    A fairytale u choose whether uwant to live in this biig castle or in this old flat. And now live with my father and it’s such a hard live it’s such a hard live I’m too lonely my father travel often he travels one week and comes back for one or two days then travels again. When he comes back he is often with his new wife. It’s hard enough that I’m known as the quite girl in school I don’t even have friends and it’s hard for me seeing another woman taking my mothers place. Imm often sad and I cry alot in secret I appear as a cheerful person infront of my classmate when its like I have big black hole inside. My chest sometimes start to hurt and I feel physicilly and mentally ill. My mother often ask me ” how r u?” but I don’t know how to answer and often change the subject I don’t want to worry I want to live with her but then it means no school I don’t care about school just seeing my mum means everything to me!! I just want to be by her side but my father isent allowing! I know that he loves me
    That what my mum used to tell me Yet why won’t he understand!! Doesn’t know how I feel?!! Always alone.. Wake up alone eat alone go to school alone being at school alone sleep alone without anyone in the house it’s always so quiet I’m tired!!! I can’t anymore not anymore. I know I have to go for school I’m doing it now only for my mum I feel like if I gt good grades I will be allowed to see my mum I actually do get the highest in the class it means nothing to me HMp not even to my father.. When I only lOse one mark he tells why didn’t u get full?? What do I do I study all the time never 5 minutes break!!.. I feel like the better I do the faster I get to see my mum but I don’t want to happen to me exactly what happen to her. That then mum got married to my father they travelled to another country and lived there the time went then my mum got a phone call from her family they told her that her mother died!!..
    The more I think of it the scared I get!! Who knows when I finish school and university but till then will my mother be alive?!!! I’m so .. Scared.. So … Scared. If only I could live with her!

  91. Ausie says:

    I’m a humble and smart student, got good grades in class even if I sit on the computer for 2 hours a day, my parents are really difficult and are pain in the necks! Even if I get the 7th position at the top class, they are not satisfied. I uploaded a video today but it took extra 30 mins, but guess what, they scolded me for sitting on the damn pc just for an extra 30 mins and changed the FU*#IN’ PASSWORD! They grounded me for three weeks and forced me to study more… THATS BULLSH*#! All that for a little mistake? I’ve spent 4 hours a day studying for the final exams. And they’re finished now. But I can’t even take a break. I’m from Singapore and it should be the holidays and the time for me to enjoy, BUT MY PARENTS ARE JUST J*#KING OFF!

  92. Asenath Trevino says:

    Im a teenager, only of 15 year old of age, and my life has been harsh, and well my dad he is used to the old fashioned, he dont realize im growing up, and he dont allow me to go out, nor talk on the phone cuz supposively i dont have the right age to talk over the phone and omg texting dont even bring it up cuz they always tell me who do you wanna txt why do you want to txt,? always being negative,? why i do good grades, and everything i think 15 years of age is the right age to be txting, im not to be allowed to go out espeacially with friends they dont let me talk with guys only females, and even if i talk to them they always blame my attitude on them, but in reality this non-social life is what is changing me, i dont know what to do im an A honor-Roll student and yet i have no liberty of anything,? what should i do i want to have a normal social life, and i want to be like every other girl, but how can i have a noraml life, if he dont allow me to do anything and i cant talk to him because he doesnt understand i would really wish to one day have a father and daughter conversation, but never cuz he always thinks of me wrong, idk what to do anymore i need some advice?

  93. MyFriendsMom says:

    Well, first off, my story isn’t about me. Its about my best friend and her mother. She’s not even worthy of being labled as a “mother”. Far from it. My best friends mom has been verbally, emotionally and physically abusive towards her for as long as I can remember. Keep in mind that my friend is 25 years old. Her mom belittles her, degrades her, calls her a whore, etc. My friend canstantly calls me everyday telling me how horrible her mother treats her, yet she isn’t doing anything to change the situation and its causing me to have a lot of anxiety and sadness for my friend. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like a piece of trash every single day. I ask her “if you’re so annoyed with how your mom treats you, then why aren’t you doing anything about it?” She always responds with “yeah I know, but I don’t feel like hearing my mom complain at me so its just easier to let her say what she’s gonna say even when I know I’m right and she’s wrong.” She enables her mother to treat her like s**t because she is scared of her in every way. I keep telling her I would go with her to confront her mom so she doesn’t feel like she’s alone. She won’t even consider my suggestion because she thinks it will cause more problems for her. How do I get her to stand up for herself? its like oh my god, heaven forbid she upsets her mom….huge crime! For example: my friend has been playing the role of a taxi for her mom because her mom doesn’t have a vehicle to get to work and she relies on my friend. Her mom has money to buy a car, but she refuses to even attempt to get her own car for the past two years because she’s a lazy b***h. My friend uses the phrase “well my mom won’t look for a car so I HAVE TO do it for her or else she won’t do it at all.” I tell her she doesn’t HAVE TO do a god damn thing for her mom because she has more important things to worry about. Her mom is always yelling at her if she’s a few minutes late to work once in awhile. My friend is nice enough to take her mom to and from work and this is the thanks she gets??!!! If I was her I would say “mom, you’re lucky I give you rides to and from work so I wouldn’t be talkin s**t cuz I could just as easily tell you to find your own ride if that’s the way you wanna be treating me for trying to help you out.” I just really wish she would stand up to her mom and tell her to f**k off and quit being a controlling b***h. There’s much more to this story, but this post is getting to be too long so ill post something more about it in a day or two.

  94. spen says:

    I was so withdrawn from people right up until I graduated high school. Now I am a mother of three kids and she treats us all like we don’t belong. My sister evens tells my mother she treats everyone better than me and my family. She’s nasty and rude. I used to.ask her when I needed her to watch my kids until I found out that her father was coming over when my kids were there. I told her if she tried that shit with my kids she would never see them or myself again, I promised and I meant it and she knew it. I told her father that if he ever touched one of my kids I would kill him! He stopped coming around, then he got sick and ended up in the hospital. They cut off his toes, then his leg then he died. I refused to go to any service. I went out and got celebrate! My mom was mad I didn’t go “for her” I said if I go people aren’t to like what I have to say and they especially won’t like it when I spit on his dead a**! So she was mad at me. I don’t care. I am hapy he’s dead and I’m glad he suffrd. Although I don’t feel he suffered enough! He took away my childhood. She let him. I hate mymother.

  95. spen says:

    I am 37 and prayer is not for me. I have been through a lot in my life. As a matter of fact I was mollested by my mothers father from the time I was little until I was 14 us old. My mother knew, she just told me to stay away from him but continued bringing me places where he would be leaving me where he was without a care in the world. She was the one that protected him. She told me repeatedly “don’t tell your father, he will kill him! He will go to jail!” For years that was stamped in my head. I missed out on the first 14 years of my life. My mother and father would go on vacation twice a year two weeks at a time. She left me at his house each vacation, and when she’d call to check up on me I begged and pleaded with her to please come get me. She told me to knock it off. I would lay at night on the pull out couch and in the middle of the night he would come out to cop a feel get a hard on and go back to bed. I dreamt of how I could kill him. I hate my mother to this day for it.when my dad and mom split up I told her I wad telling him about her father and she begged me not to. She knew she was wrong. She told me the entire thing was my own fault.

  96. vidushi says:

    i am very sad, my gradmother thinks that a girl cannot do anything and a girl should not go alon out of the home. i am very weak in studies and she does not allow me 4 going to a coaching. sorry, i don’t know english very well but iam trying. i have i big bro and sister my brother is allowed for everything he can go anywhere and anytime but i can’t because i am a girl. i and my sister just have to the home, kitchen works and go to school and straight back home. my mother and grandmother don’t love me at all they only need good food from me. my father and grandfather loves me so much but they are very far from because of many good reasons . i even don’t know how to ride cycle but my brother knows everything i don’t know nmy bro loves me or ot. i am very tence for my carriar. i want tl become faishon desingener. plzzzzzzzzzzz. help me

  97. JCL says:

    Ok for starters my “mom” is a narcisistic maniac who will never admit she’s wrong, use everything against me that she can and finds whatever the she can to argue about. I honestly hate the way she runs. I want to move out so bad but I’m only 15 and a half yet she makes my life hell. She got me in trouble for doing drugs (I understand that part) but kept me grounded for a full month of my summer and basically ruined my social life and has led me into a slight depression now. She is the reason for all my stress and anger I have almost lost it. One of my teachers reminds me of her and the teacher tried to argue with me. I went off because I now connect the teacher and my mom as one insane person. If anyone has advice go for it

  98. Yeah! says:

    My parents are being total idiots,I have a mental illness and they don’t understand,sometimes I’m screwed by it and can’t do anything and start to withdraw and stuff,so they take away my stuff and I’m sick if it!It’s almost 3 months without my real pc and they keep telling me to do stuff that I’m doing already,it’s sickening
    17 yo.

  99. Kuchy says:

    i and my mum have never really been friends. i would say that we have just been cicil to each other. i am engaged to dis wonderful guy and my mum is slowing us down, we have been engaged for over a year now. she says she likes the guy and she has accepted him but i dont know what the problem is. please do you think i should sit her down and talk to her like a mother to daughter.

  100. Eric says:

    I am 35 and I have had a difficult upbringing without a father since the age of 3. Mother took custody of me ever since, but in the last 15 years or so, my mother has basically become more manipulative towards me and tries to periodically blackmail me with money and health issues.

    I currently live with her and I am due to leave home in December after a miracle meeting with a lady in Europe in June this year. However, I know that various people do not like her, and with her continuing ill-health, no one will look out for her due to her regressive, negative nature with all and sundry. I can no longer cope with her changable moods and manipulative nature. I need to leave her in peace.

  101. Rain says:

    i live withmy mom, dad left when i was 6, she gets on my nerves i have actually had dreams and day visions of repeatedly stabbing her. she gripes at me for not doing things around the house while she dosent do them either and when she does she acts all high and mighty and gripes about me not doing anything while she “toils away”. when i do things like the dishes if i leave 1 dish and dont finish it before they pile back up she bitches at me and then says that ive never once finished all the dishes but when she does it she leaves a whole sink full and says its my turn cuz shes sick. when shes mad at me and we are in the car she has literally screeched to a stop just because i wouldnt talk to her, i nearly hit the dash board (thank god for seatbelts) i wouldnt talk to her cuz i was pissed and didnt want to say something to make it worse. she has told me that i gave her post partom depression from my birth, im 16 btw, my problem is she dosent seem to realize there are others besids her who are depressed, me, im depressed and suicidal i feel trapped in my own life and the house im in, im a cutter and have burned my self before, i scratch myself when i dont have a knife. im like this partly because of her, a year ago in november i started cutting after my grandmother died and i found out that my mother does speed the drug, at my grams death i shed exactly 5 tears when my brother hugged me, i have so many walls up i cant even cry when i need to.

  102. Simon says:

    I have a particularly strained relationship with my parents but expecially my mother. My mother can only really be described as a hypochondriac. she is always talking about death and her illnesses and how it’s the worst case of (take your pick) the doctors have ever seen, i used to show concern but after the best part of 30 years my reaction tends to be indifferent at best. she is also very snappy at me and i must admit i rise to it and snap back. the problem is i hate it when i do it becasue it’s not me and not part of my personality. i have recently stopped this behaviour on my part because i don’t like it and i asked my mother to stop it with me. she has now taken offense and is playing the wounded soldier and my father is backing her up 100%. He left her 10 years ago becasue of the way she speaks to him, but when i mentioned it, that he didn’t put up with it so why should i, he just refused to acknowlege that’s why he left. we had a row about it and now he’s offended and left my house in tears. I feel such a sh*t for upsetting them but i don’t see why i should put up with that behaviour. nobody else speaks to me that way and i wouldn’t speak to anybody else that way. i really needed to get this off my chest, it feels so damn lonely going through it but in a perverse way it’s also nice to know others have these type of problems, so you’re not really alone at all.

  103. Rk says:

    I have always had a very complicated relationship with my mum. I don’t know if I hate her or love her or whether I am just indifferent, i remember how my mother used to verbally abuse me, she once called me a wh**e because i used her pair of scissors, and then she is just so so so partial to my brother, i remember how my brother was once abusing me i called him frustrated he slapped me and then my mother came after me with a leather belt, that was the first day i actually hit someone, and then i had gone to meet one of my friends who had had an accident i came back home, my mother beat me up with a stick. And then she is so cruel, she keeps on telling me how i have a psychological problem and my dad is fuc**** spineless and two faced, now i have just stopped trying and i am so scared of getting into relationships either friendship or romantic because i am so scared of getting hurt and i feel so useless all the time, i dont know how long i will be able to take this sh**

  104. sad says:

    so sad. My mother’s behaviour is so hurtful and aggressive. The story about the other girls mom calling her a bitch for putting too much water n the kettle sounds very familiar. Have my own family now and do not want them exposed to this negativity.

  105. lana says:

    Use prayer. It works. You dont have the strength or answers. God does.

  106. Grady Pruitt says:

    Though I have had issues with my parents for years, they really hit a critical point almost 4 years ago when my father disappeared. Ever since, I have had a very strained relationship with my father, and even my stepmother, because of what happened, the way it happened, and with my stepmother, the way things were handled in response.

    Even though my father has since reappeared, I find it difficult to have interactions with him. I have seen him a couple of times, but the relationship feels strained. I have much I feel I want to say to him, but don’t know how to or am afraid to. I know I have a lot of anger over the incident, and I have been trying in recent time to find a way to forgive him for what happened. Still, the trust that was there before is now gone, so even with forgiveness, there are consequences for what happened.

    I think what Oprah said can help me… That forgiveness is releasing the hope that things could have been different. This is something that I will have to work towards doing.

    Thanks for the post!

  107. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Nicki, Rayshard, Lily, and Robbie,

    Thank you for sharing your lives here, and I’m sorry to hear your moms are being so difficult. Th mother-child relationship is the most complicated one in our lives, especially when you throw in money, sexual orientation, assisted living homes, and moms who can’t show love.

    I wrote this article for all four of you:

    What to When Your Mother Problems Keep Getting Worse

    If you have a more specific question, please feel free to ask here or there! I welcome your thoughts, and hope it helps you cope with your difficult parental unit.

    At the very least, you’ll know you’re not alone. :-)


  108. Nicki says:

    Hi, i am nicky & i have a serious problem with my mother & have had problems with her almost all my life. Anything & everything i do is never good enough for her (for example-i would get a A’s & B’s in all my classes & i would tidy up the house a little bit & i would go to show her & all she has to say is ‘take the trash out’ or ‘sweep the kitchen floor) & im not just saying that because i dislike her on soooo many levels, its just the truth & its sad. My dad does not live with us so shes had manyy boyfriends come & go & she always chooses them over me. Now, the problem that im having is that i turned 18 a couple months ago & for my 18th bday my aunts gave me each $500 bucks so i had $1000 but the deal was i had to wait until graduation to spend it & whatever i decided to spend it on, i had to see if that was ok with my mom, so i agreed. She recently had given me $200 so i could go down the shore for a little with friends, & she then tells me a couple days ago that she had put my money into a CD at the bank for 18 months so she cannot touch it & neither can i until the 18 months is up. Me & my boyfriend are planning on moving in together VERY soon & i wanted that money for when we did, but now i would have to wait 18 months to get it, & my question is can i take my mother to court for not telling me that she was going to do that with MY money until after she had already done it, & do i have a chance at winning? Thank you all so much in advance for replying & listening.

  109. Ray says:

    Hi I’m Rayshard and I came to this site today because of an issue i just had with my mother i am getting ready for college and about to move in my dorm and my mother is suppose to take me and she went to the store and told me that when she got back i had needed to be finished packing and ready to go so she comes back about 25 mins later and when she comes i double check to make sure i have everything and thats when she begins to nag and say that im gonna be late and stuff when actually i still had 3 hours before i had to be there, so as she is fussing i begin to take my stuff to the car and as i walk out the door to go outside i say ugh will she please shut up, she heard me say something but was unsure what it was i said so when i came in the house i didnt specify what i said i just kept on putting my things in the car so we are now on the road to my college when my mother is still fussing and my little cousin beside me sighs and my mother then looks back at me and says you can breath hard all you want but you can’t shut my mouth so then i address her stating angrily that actually that wasn’t me it was adam first of all, so she then says thats why i dont need to take you anywhere because of that attitude and i say of course i have an attitude because i am mad and then she proceeds to turn the car around and we end up going back home and i am now vehemently quiet because at this point if i were to say anything it would definitely be disrespectful. Now my mother is a single parent and has been since i was the age of 4 and i am now going on 20 we have always been the one to argue about stuff primarily because my mother does not agree with my sexual preference and she happens to be a very christian woman( so to speak). But throughout my teen life she would say that i am nasty and inhumane for my sexual preference but it wasn’t all about that either because during my high school years i was a very active person but my mother would say that i am just at school all the time just to be away from home (which was a + for me but not the main reason) and that i just wanted to sin and do other things but truth was i actually loved what i did at school i was in a high school frat,Band,Choir,Gentlemen’s Club,Dance team, and i worked the concession at games so i was very busy. She just thought i was lying to her and being sneaky and told me that whenever i stay after school i would have to find my own ride home because she was not going to pick me up so as a result i sometimes ended up being at school until 1am because of no ride but on such occasions a janitor or someone who is still at the school working or on patrol will take me home. Most of the time though i could find a ride home but the times i didnt find one i would not even call my mom because i knew how she was so id just wait there. When i would get home i would have to hear her mouth she would think that i was either coming from having sex or something else the she would concoct in her mind and it was ridiculous and hard for me to accept such ridicule knowing i’ve done nothing wrong. Eventually i got tired of her doing that and actually began to get into mischief around school and do things so when she fussed it actually wouldn’t bother me if i knew it was true it still bothered the fact that she was fussing but it was easier to deal with since it wasn’t just another accusation but then when i began to get caught doing some things it got worse because then she would make reference to stuff in the pass when i was actually at school doing what i was supposed to do and say that i was doing something else and it would anger me so. Also she would begin to accuse me of doing things worse other than the actual stuff i was doing at the time i would be so angry and it would come out at her in rages like my facial expressions were so violent and my voice would be loud in whatever i spoke and i would clench and bite my teeth as i violently spoke back to her but then she would challenge me to hit her which is something she thought i had no respect for her to do but i had respect that much to not touch my mother its just something i wouldn’t do and also because i knew the bible so i knew it was wrong to hit her but talking to her the way i did i could not seem to help and she would say you wanna hit me hit me because you’re face is not scaring me right now which would anger me more because i was not trying to scare her i was just angry and thats the way my faced looked when i was vehement but i would never get mad enough to hit her because its just not who i am i just wanted her to understand what i was feeling and see my point which she always refused to do and to this day still does can someone please help me with this because nothing ever seems to get better between us i mean we have ok moments but its not constant there is always something arising between us because she chooses no to see or try to understand me along with my sexual preference which i keep telling her i did not choose to like male or female it was just a feeling that was there and trust if there was i substance i could drank to rid me of my struggle with my sexuality i would quickly drank it i believe anyone like me would because no one would choose a life where they know there gonna be ridiculed and scolded for it I’m gonna end here because i can go on and on but if anybody has any tips for me please reply Thanks.

  110. lily says:

    Hi everyone,

    Perhaps someone here can give me some advice.

    I grew up in a rather strange family. My mother was a very caring person. Always ever so careful to keep us well fed and healthy and warm and educated. But never did she show any love, at least to me.

    My father as far as I can remember started hating me when I was about 8 or 9 I honestly don’t know why. I remember that when I was very small he used to be nice to me I guess he just didn’t want a grown up girl or something like that. During my teenage years he was extremely cruel to me even tho I was not a difficult child at all. I never asked for anything, I was always studying and doing my homework, I helped look after my younger siblings, I hardly ever went out. I simply stopped talking to him when I was around 13, I had just had enough. I’m thirty now and I have talked to him for the first time after so long just a couple of month ago, very briefly because I had to. During all these years my mum acted as a kind of messenger between us if anything came up that was absolutely necessary. My mum always blamed me and tried to make me feel guilty about not talking to my dad.

    As for my mom I understood that she cared for us, that she made a lot of sacrifices for us, but she never understood me, I never even guessed that she might love me – I just found that out recently. But I always loved her and I still do. She had a lot of problems when we were young, there was a lot of conflict with my dad, she was always ever so busy and tired. And then she had some cultural religious ideas too which didn’t help us any. I remember clearly for instance when I started my period she was extremely angry, she sort of told me it was too early and it was disgusting and I should never tell anyone and should be very much ashamed of myself! Well I knew she was wrong, I wasn’t stupid but I still felt awful. We had so many stuff like that. She could be very cruel when she was angry or frustrated she had a way of humiliating me. And I had to be the adult then, tho I was only 11 or 12 and I had to keep on reminding myself that she is just upset and she doesn’t mean it or that she is wrong and she doesn’t know any better. And I had to protect my little brother and sister too- or overprotect them even because I was too young and inexperienced. But everything was much better for them. My mum did show them love and hug them I remember. and she was so much more open minded towards them.

    Since I moved out and started living on my own I have realised that my mum does love me. she always says she misses me. Now she is ever so different, ever so kind. I never stopped loving her when I was a child. I always just felt sorry for her and I still do.

    I have a little sister who lives at home. She is very depressed it seems and very often when I talk to my mom about her I cant stop myself from blaming her. I keep on reminding her that she wasn’t a good mom. That she never showed us she loved us and that’s probably what she is doing with my little sister. What really upsets me is that she denies everything! And she gets very very hurt. I don’t want to hurt. I feel like I have forgiven whatever she did wrong, but the next time we talk the same thing happens. Why can’t I let it go? I love her so much, I don’t want to hurt her. I don’t know what to do.

  111. T says:

    For Robbie,

    Leave her in a foster home, she will be ok there, really. Take care of yourself, you only have one life, so does your son. No one should suffer that much for another person, especially not on a daily basis.
    People don’t change anymore at that age, especially not abusive people, please protect your wellbeing and that of your son, he will be thankful for that later in life, I say this out of experience.
    Goodluck and stay strong!

  112. Robbie says:

    My Mother even bedridden and at the age of 80 is still very abusive, I am doing the thing most daughters would do, trying to take her on myself so she wont have to go in a home, my sister wants to put her in one,I wouldnt want to go in one myself so thought as she was older Id try and look after her myself, so I am getting a bigger house to accommodate her, in turn she will pay half, problem is time is drawing near, I went down to her yesterday she lives 130 miles away, all she did was make me look stupid in front of her carers and friends, she was so rude and nasty, I calmly said Mum dont talk to me like that please, she snapily remarked, Not YOU again, then she was commenting on how fat I was, and saying my Son was too good for me, I came away feeling absolutly dreadful, wishing Id never got a bigger house for her, she has been nasty to me on and off all my life, the next minute she may be ok for a very short while, it is phycological abusiveness and manipulation, she has fallen out with my brother, he physicaly attacked her and left, my sister fell out with her, she broke up my first marriage and threw me out, that was all years ago, I am trying hard to be a loving daughter and hoping she will come to her senses before she dies, I am a Christian, but she has even criticized what I practise, I am beginning to wonder if my mother is suffering from some insanity or just plain horrid, I try, I really try, I dont know what I shall do if trying to look after her doesnt work out, I will try and bite my tongue, I just hope she doesnt try and destroy my relationship with my son, she has destroyed most things and relationships, including 4 of her marriages.

  113. nicola says:

    Dear JJ,
    how hard for you to have lost your mum so suddenly, and clearly well before her time. it is never easy to lose a mum, they really do (or at least in a perfect world do… ) have your back. it sounds like she was a very special mum.
    i remember many years ago when i was dealing with two very immature parents, having someone say to me that you either look at your parents and decide to be just like them, or look at them and decide to be NOTHING like them!
    i now realise this to be true. life is full of choices for us to make, and only we can make them for ourselves. we all have the right to make mistakes, and that is how it should be because we do learn so much from them.
    one of the hardest things to learn as you get older, is that your parents are simply poeple who are older than you, and the addage of wise old people is a myth. stupid people get old too!!! your father is obviously a man who does not know how to take responsibility for his life, so you did not get your wisdom from him! he will learn his lessons in his life in his own time, but just remember that they are his lessons to learn. you have your own life. i encourage you to continue being a combination of all the strong qualities you have learnt from your mum, and keep an open heart to the struggles your father is facing, without feeling that they are in any way yours to fix. good luck in your future JJ, it sounds to me like you have your ‘head screwed on right’ as the saying goes, your mother would be so proud of you.

  114. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear JJ ~ I’m sorry to hear how distressing your father’s behavior is. It must be hard to see him spend your mother’s money like that, and to know how she’d feel about it.

    The best way to cope with difficult parents is to accept them for who they are. They won’t or can’t change…only you can change how you react and respond to them. I know how hard it is. Sometimes it’s terrible, frustrating, disappointing, and painful. But, there’s nothing we can do to change anyone.

    I wish you all the best. If you need tips for accepting people as they are, let me know! I’d be happy to dig ’em up.

    M ~ I don’t know how old you are…but can you move out of your parents’ home sometime soon? That may be the best way to cope with your mom’s outbursts and negativity. Is there a relative or close friend you can stay with?


  115. M says:

    My mother is psychologically abusive and unfit to raise any children. she frequently tells me she wishes I weren’t even born and she cant wait for me to leave. She shouts at me without even being diplomatic and telling me shes annoyed about anything… ie just 5 mins ago she literally shouted up the stairs at me ” I told you to not use too much water in the kettle you f***king b*tch” yeah i get this everyday. people like this should be banned from parenting i actually hate her, hate her so f***ing much.

  116. JJ says:

    Hi everyone, thanks for sharing your experiences.

    My mom passed away suddenly a year ago and my father was very dependent on her both emotionally and financially. She was a fantastic mother who gave selflessly. Her departure was a rude shock to us as my siblings and I were very close to her, and not so much to my father. Now that she’s left, I thought it would be time for my father to step up to his role as a parent but I was so wrong. He now expects to depend on us emotionally and financially, without caring that we have lost our mother as much as he has lost his spouse.

    My mother left the family some inheritance and since then he has spent most of his share. I just feel so hurt knowing that my mother would have wanted him to make the most out of the money she left him, instead of him using the money gambling and traveling so much when we are not well-off.

    Now that his inheritance has dwindled to almost nothing, he does not continue to work regularly but still travels a lot. He keeps saying that he wants to get away but I do not understand why a grown adult in his late 50s cannot understand that he should only travel if he can afford it.

    This is causing me a lot of stress as I do not know how to handle him anymore and soon once he runs out of money he will ask us for it. There is just so many times I can tell him that he needs to watch his spending. And I really hate talking to him about it because it doesn’t feel right for me to tell my parent how he should think as a matured adult.

  117. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Alisha,

    I’m sorry to hear you feel so alone. Coping with difficult parents is definitely more difficult if you’re a teenager, living under their roof.

    Have you graduated from high school? Can you find a job as a waitress, or working somewhere that can pay you enough to share an apartment with a friend? When I was 17, I had a roommate and we shared a 2 bedroom apartment.

    Do you have any friends? I don’t know how to help you, but I encourage you to reach out to the people in your life. You CAN live on your own, without your parents, but you need to lean on your friends for support. Or your family. Can you rely on family members to get you started on your journey away from your parents?


  118. Alisha Johns says:

    Hey I know the feeling. I’ll be 18 next week. My parents are very religious. They base a lot of my restrictions on that. I don’t agree with them and it hurts me the things they do and believe and infact it even scares me. For so long I have wanted parents that sometimes I can just sit down and talk to the about my problems. I thought maybe I get more freedom when I got older but they took what little freedom I had. I try my best to listen and obey because they are my parents and I try to respect everyone. But what they say and beliefs and things they do are so odd and it scares me. I havelived with them my whole life and still don’t understand what is going on. That religion of theirs has broke the family apart. The have hurt my very bad and it is so hard to talk to them. At times am scared to go home or be around because of what they have to say or new restrictions. I have applied to so many jobs but have not got anycontact. I fell like I’m trapped or in prison. I am not allowed to really go anywhere or spend time with friends at all except for school. I can’t even ride home with my friends. All I can come up with is their religon. I don’t have anywhere to go and it seems like I will never get away. I am so alone.

  119. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    MacsWife, thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful answer to Troubled Teen!

  120. MacsWife says:

    in reply to: TROUBLED TEEN :/

    As I read your story on here i feel such a conection to you. with a small tweek your story was my childhood TO THE T!!
    and i am so sorry that its happening to you but i am here to say that your going to be ok and as terrable as all this is and how you are undeserving of the hell your being put through now that you are going to grow beyond your years just as i did! it’s going to be ok!! i’m sorry that i dont have an exact answer as i am still dealing with my relationship with my mother even at age 26 but i do want you to know from a person that has been there that you can get OUT! and move on!! When my parents got a devorce i was 8 and my mother got custody and had it the whole time untill i graduated highschool. I delt with her mood swings and crazy antics and rants for YEARS! SOme of the things that helped me during those last few years was
    *1* i got a job at age 15 that kept me out of the house and away for a few extra hours atleast.
    *2* i enrolled in any extra activites i could be involoved in whether it was student teaching, track, band, chior, tutoring, all the way to art club(witch i have absolutely NO artistic ability at ALL LOL) *3* LIving in a small rural area helped but, i would ask friends parents if they needed any extra help working on their farms.
    *4* i had some great friends and the #1 of all is now my husband! He was my rock and still is!!
    *5* which realy should be 1st on this list was finding faith! i had to go to church with a friend plus my now inlaws would take me along with them too. but that was such a great way to get away from the emotional crazyness that was at my house and being able to lift it all up to God and let it off my chest. it saved me many times!!!!

    I also found out that my high school offered a program that got me able to graduate at the end of my 1st semester instead of may. so the day after my last day of school(4 months after i had turned 17) i packed up my car with all my stuff and never looked back!
    From that moment on i have married my rock from high school and have a wonderfull family with 3 children and am now facing all new issues with my mother but i just think back to that freezing illinois january day i walked out of high school and finnaly was FREE!! i dont think i have ever taken that deep of breath and felt that free!! That moment is what kept me going those hard hard years! it was the knowing that everyday i was ONE STEP CLOSER to freedom! Every hard night or mood swing i had to endure just made me more determined.
    i realy hope that this helps you in any way! but you sound like you are SOOO STRONG and i just know your going to come out on top!!!!

    keep your head up and dont let her hurtfull words have any power over you!!
    please feel free to email me back if you want or need to!

  121. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Marta ~ Thanks for sharing your experience here, and telling us what helped you cope with your difficult parents!

    Chris ~ I’m sorry I took so long to respond to your question. I wrote this article for you:

    How to Help Elderly Parents Who Don’t Want Help

    I hope it helps, and welcome further questions or comments!


  122. Marta says:

    I first went to counseling in college to learn how to deal with my parents. I had to learn how to set boundaries with them. I’ve been trying to do this my entire life. My father has Asperger’s and has anger issues and my mother is just difficult and empowers him. Now that I am an adult with children of my own, my other siblings won’t have anything to do with our parents, so I am left alone with the care and maintenance of them. I have fostered their relationship with my children, however, cautioned my children about them.

    Over the years, my parents have certainly mellowed, and have become very close to my children and adore them. However, my father has recently turned against my oldest daughter and it is so painful to watch him treat her in the same despicable manner that he used to use on us when we were young. My daughter is bewildered and hurt, wondering what happened to have caused this relationship to sour so quickly and how could Grampa say such hateful, hurtful things. I can only soothe her and tell her that this rage will soon burn out. I’ve only shared a few stories from the past, and I know they looked at me in disbelief, but now, sadly, they know I wasn’t exaggerating.

    My siblings children don’t even have a relationship with them for these reasons, my siblings decided my parents were too toxic to maintain a relationship.
    I’ve always been angry with them for this and have been resentful of them leaving their care to me, especially since now my mother has developed Alzheimers, and my father has other medical issues. I know in my heart I’ve done the right thing, but, they have made it so difficult. Especially when they have hurt my child. She may have made some mistakes along the way, but, nothing that couldn’t have been set aright by a simple discussion.

  123. Chris says:

    Hi, I am just wondering how to help my mother find balance between needing help (which she does, living alone for the first time after my father’s death and having gone (successfully) through open-heart surgery & post-op) asking for help (which she is very reluctant to do…thus, we often have things she wants done but no one knows it, and then she is resentful because no one “noticed” and did it without asking….and on the other side of the spectrum she is fearful of feeling “obligated” to us for helping. I’ve tried to point out that we are family and despite having a husband, family and a job I can’t afford to quit, I’m willing to help as much as I can, when I can, and don’t expect anything in return…but it’s only a temporary fix and the same discussion appears over and over. What is going on? I can deal with being busy…not having a social life…and helping with 2 households, but I’m really overwhelmed with the emotional ups and downs. Thanks for any advice you can offer.

  124. gerry says:

    hi there every one ive got a father who alwa\ys has to run me down hes deffinatly got a problem with me he even run our new kitchen down when we got it put in saying it was rubbish and that his is far better at first he and my mother sayed get the person who put ours in and just because we didnt thats what happened he even runs down where we live calling it a shite hole i think he and my mother are jelouse that my 2 other brothers are living with there mother and father in laws and angry because im not that me and my wife have our own property i dont know why they go on like this then they stopped calling up to see there grandchildren my kids are always asking us why they dont call up any more all i can do is tell them the truth im not going to ly to my kids but yet they go to se my 2 other brothers and there kids i think this is a dissgrace that they are treating us like that

  125. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Donna, Pixie, LadyJabba,

    I wish I could help you solve your problems with your parents! I really wish I knew what to say or how to help…but I just don’t. I’m not a counselor, and I can’t offer personal advice.

    But — when I was 30, I went for a year of counseling and it changed my life! I discovered fresh insights into my personality, my mom’s behavior, my sister’s actions…and I was able to move forward.

    If you haven’t talked to a counselor, I encourage you to do so as soon as possible. I know it’s difficult, but it really is the best way to get help coping with difficult parents.

    I’m really glad you shared your life here, and I hope it helped to write about it! And I wish you all the best as you move forward — hopefully with some in-person support and guidance.


  126. Donna says:

    Hi all, I’m a 44 year old female who was shy when real young,my mom and dad bought a resort when I was about 11 or 12, so I stayed home with my quiet dad and my mom lived 31/2 hours away most of the time,it seems I did a lot to be the new house keeper at that time ,as for myself I took the easy way out … as I got teased at school, so… I would call in sick then just dropped out one day . Mom would never be home for my September 12 birthday,it kind of felt sad but I felt it was not her fault,just it was the way it was.
    In short…time went on I got married at 24 we lived at my parents house( my mom still up north 3 1/2 hours away for most of the time) so we could save more money yo buy our own home, this took much longer than one could ever want to happen….we had our baby when I was 28 finally got a home of our own ,
    My mom and dad sold there home ,dad got health problems ,so I was told they wanted to stay at my home with my hubby and son for the winter time (8 month) cause it could be my dads last year to live…and they didn’t want to be far away at the resort . This idea made me feel trapped but I gave in…this went on and on year after year my marriage went down the tubes I went to school to be a nail tech.I was trying to start fresh and small so I would not get in to deep with house bills and such…and my husband was to buy or sell our house and get payed off so I could put money down on a small home for son and I Mom and dad came back I froze mentally ,never took my exam I felt I could not pass it low self worth…my mom and dad bought the house from me and my husband,so this loan got much much bigger cause now my ex husband had to be payed his share of the house ,I was told at 38 I was only thinking of myself to make my son go through a divorce than have him move to a different home,well I did not want to be a burden to my parents money wise….and I was told not to worry about that,but I went in deep depression felt low self worth and of course my parents come every year from end of September till end of may or June .I got remarried at 39 ,my dad passed away 1 month before we had our baby when I turned 40 ,my mom is still here every fall till spring…this marriage is now on it’s last leg,I’ve been still in depression ….mom is her I have no life to call mine…I feel like all I would want is to be with is the family I married and gave birth to to have my life without mom or dad here,what would it have been like to raise my kids just me and my husband…or just a Christmas holiday with my hubby and our sons..and not have to ask mom and dad not to be here for a holiday…and not be given the guilt trip that I get about how I’m wrong to think, be or feel that way about my mom and dad.
    WELL…I will be 45 in 5 months, I now have so much hate ,rage,anger in me that life has passed me by so quick . I look in the mirror and I see me as old ugly skin ugly old hands,my marriage is empty no soft kissing no love making. My mom she is still here she knows how I feel and how I just wanted my own life and family…but says it is all my fault I never got a job…and I married not because of a little presure..and to stop bringing up the past…well my past is still in my home, and she is 66 and seems to be having a hard time now moving around…I love my mom , I have nothing left of my life …to old to start what I tried starting long ago….me.
    I feel selfish …
    And I now can see that vary soon I will have to dedicate my life to a elderly woman and take care of her…my mom. And all I have left in me is hate rage anger depression worthless ugly,…me. I am so ugly inside and out.
    I am told I am the one with making this a problem , and no reason to be this way, so I guess I am that mean selfish bit€h….so be happy 😉
    This is my short version, am I so way out of the way I think and feel..?? Help,yes ,no?

  127. sarah says:

    mon i second you on that, i understand your situation and please let me know if there is a way out, its driving me crazy

  128. LadyJabba says:

    What do you do when you live with the person, are grown with your own kids and it seems as though you will never get out?

    Sometimes I just wish her and her stupid Husband would just die!

    I cried sooo hard today my eyes still hurt 6 hours later and I can’t have this stress expecting my third.

  129. Pixie says:

    I have been dealing for many years with a mother who has narcissistic personality disorder. I recognise a lot of these posts share similar characteristics with my mother so I would encourage your posters to look up NPD. Beth McHugh at is a reliable and interesting source of information in regard to mothers who have this problem.

    It’s a difficult and relatively unspoken disorder that affects families that needs much more discussion than it receives. Most who have it can only be diagnosed by proxy due to the denial of the problem by the person.

  130. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks for sharing your story…I know your experience will help others cope with difficult parents!

  131. lasting says:

    I read the article and it is very helpful thank you.

    I have had to set new boundaries, because the previous ones were not enough…Not working.

    The new boundary removes myself from those that are toxic, putting for now, permanent distance between myself and my toxic parent.

    I absolve myself.

    I realize I can’t change what a toxic person says or does, but I can set my own boundaries that limits contact.

    I won’t apologize for setting boundaries to protect myself and my family.

    I realized it quickly. Having the thought, “I don’t trust him anymore” was what tipped the scale. Once trust is gone, there is no turning back.

    Once realized, it made it easy to put boundaries in place, and be strong enough to enforce them.

    I wish it was different, but the reality is, that it is what it is. Angry and sad but that turned into feeling the need to “do something” about it, to be empowered.

    I know what I have to offer in a relationship, and wondered for the first time about the reverse. What does this toxic parent offer? My list was short. That helped me realize I’m doing what needs to be done.

    Realizing my toxic parent is not mentally well does not justify hurting people. It’s not just me. Other members are having a hard time with him too. As a group, we’re trying to hang in there.

    By helping the other parent, that, inadvertently was enabling his bad behavior. So, no matter how bad it got, with his abuse, he never suffered any consequences from it, in fact, that behavior has been “encouraged”, because he is not accountable for any actions, he does and says what he wants, knowing it won’t affect people helping him. So, why change?

    His bad behavior has no negative consequences. In fact, the more he acts up, the more people try to appease him, to try to change his behavior to being more tolerable, which also benefits him.

    I wish circumstances were different but they are what they are and I’m doing what I can to protect what needs protection.

    It’s been a long time coming. I reached my tolerance threshold and had to act on it.

  132. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Troubled Teen,

    Wow, what a survivor you are! You’ve been through SO much, and you sound so self-aware, smart, and willing to do whatever it takes to overcome your experiences and succeed in life. I’m very proud of you, for being so strong and surviving the way you have.

    Your life sounds exactly like mine! I left my mom — a very very very difficult parent — when I was about 13 years old. I moved in with my grandma.

    When I was having serious problems with my mom, I called Social Services and asked a social worker to come over and talk to us. He did, and supported me in my decision to move in with my grandma. Is this an option for you? You might try calling Social Services or talking to your guidance counselor at school. They might be able to help you find another place to live, if you can show them how difficult it is to live with your mother.

    If you have to live with her, I encourage you to surround yourself with helpful, supportive, positive, strong people. Not just friends — go find strength and motivation in your teachers, school clubs, teams, or after school activies in the community. I don’t know what’s available in your area, but I do know that people who are successful, who survive terrible things, and who achieve their goals are surrounded by strong, inspirational people!

    I also encourage you to deep into your spiritual self. Go to church or synagoge, and learn how to tap into the strength of your Creator. Spirituality can get you through ANYTHING. Faith, hope, love, and compassion can make you stronger than anything else in the world.

    I hope this helps, and invite you to come back anytime. Let me know how you’re doing!


  133. Truthbearer1 says:

    @ TROUBLED TEEN….I can definitely relate to the pain you are experiencing and my heart goes out to you. You can email me at…if I get an email from you, I know it’s because you want my advice. Hold in there meanwhile, and I am praying for you. TRUST ME…THERE IS HOPE!
    Love ya….ttyl!

  134. TROUBLED TEEN :/ says:

    Dear Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen or anyone who may be able to help or relate,

    I am so troubled with the stress my Mother gives me, that i decided to google solutions or ways to deal with difficult mothers. Your article came up and although i am not an adult, i can relate to many of the subscribers who left comments.
    I am a fifteen year old girl who has gone through a lot. In the past i have been abused, sexually abused, and if that wasn’t enough i have had to deal with both of my parents problems as well. My parents had a bitter divorce when i was 3. I don’t remember it but i have had to suffer the consequences for most of my short life. I lived with my father(and grandparents, my father was married and still lived in my grandparents house with his new wife and I) My mother hated my Grandmother and dad, vise versa. I had visitation with my mother for most of my life. They could never speak kindly to each other or speak at all, because it would end up terribly, this was until i turned 12. A few mons. after that, my father started acting differently. He became delusional and it was then that i found out he was paranoid or some degree of schizophrenic. My mother went to court and petitioned for custody and was granted temporary custody. I cried and cried, because although my bond with my Dad and step mom wasn’t that strong, my grandma was basically a mother to me (remember i lived with her since i was 3). Upon moving in with my mother, i felt obligated to now be loyal to her, and that meant not talking to my grandmother or dad. That started tearing me apart. Now here I am three years later. Between those seemingly never ending years, I have been diagnosed with clinical depression, have seen 2-3 different therapists, and although currently I am not “depressed” i might as well be. I have never come to the point where i have wanted to hurt myself, because i think that very foolish knowing that living with her will not last for ever, but while living with her the way my mother treats me just isn’t right. Physically she does nothing, but mentally she crushes me, mentally draining me almost every day. She has massive mood swings where i suspect she is bipolar. I know that this is a typical thing most teens say about their moms, but I really think she is. To get to the point, i just don’t know how to deal with her. She gets very annoying, especially because i am a good daughter. I give her little to no problems and she still isn’t happy. She always has to find fault in every situation and make a big commotion over it, especially if her friends are over or if she is on the phone. She likes to put on an act as if she is punishing or yelling at me for something i did “wrong”.
    In the past year, i have learned to just keep quiet and/or go up to my room and stay there until she cools down, and then she acts as if nothing has happened. A few weeks ago I was walking out the door to catch the bus and she starts screaming saying i left my lights on in my room. I told her that it was the sun coming in through the window, and she didn’t believe me. I had to go back inside for fear that other kids would hear her, since my bus stop is right across the street. I went upstairs and had to show her i was right. I missed the bus and she was even more mad when she had to drop me off at school, (even though it was her fault!). Later that day she sends me a text telling me she loves me with all her heart and that she hopes i have a good day in school. It is aggravating because of the mixed signals she sends me, not to mention how it affects me when i am trying to concentrate in school, NOT ON HER. Many times she makes me so upset that i begin to cry and cry, and she calls me names such as “baby”. Now, correct me if i’m wrong, but that is a very childish thing to do considering the fact that she’s the “mature adult” in the situation. Another frequent problem is that following or in some cases during an argument, she will “threaten” me by taking away my phone or something else for absolutely NO REASON, just because she knows that it will anger me, but i have learned to show no emotions or attachments to the things she takes because if she sees no attachment and sees that it doesn’t bother me when she takes these things, she does it less frequently, and gives them back quicker. Just tonight i was going to watch a movie she rented for me from blockbuster, but she went off on a tangent about how i never do anything around the house, when thats a LIE, and even she knows that. I was taking the movie upstairs to watch in my room on my laptop, when she decides to snatch it out of my hand saying it was hers and she wasn’t going to let me watch it. Its things like that that piss me off, because she likes to annoy and upset me for no apparent reason, and it really bothers me.
    The summer i turned 14 or some time before that, i was able to start a relationship with my grandma again. I thank God for that because honestly, without her support i think i would have gone into a severe depression and never been able to come out. I rarely see my father because when i moved with my mom, he moved out, divorced his 2nd wife and disappeared. The rest of my family (e.g.: Aunts, Uncles, cousins, etc. save for one Great Uncle and Aunt on my Dad’s side won’t have anything to do with him or me because of his condition, which i happen to consider total b.s.) My grandma helps me cope with the stress that my Mom enjoys piling up on me. To be honest the only reason that i am still living with her is because i am a sophomore in high school and my grandma lives in another town, which means i would have to move towns as well as schools. I have the rest of my high school career planned out, and it would be foolish to risk the opportunities i have in this school to begin attending an inferior one where they do not offer the classes i want to take Junior and senior year, even if this means sacrificing any/all emotional support at home, since it’s just me and her.
    Knowing that i will graduate soon and be able to move out in 2 and a half years keeps me motivated. As soon as i can, which i hope will be mid senior year, I plan to move out and into my Grandmas house which means i have to have a car to commute back and forth from school to her house which isn’t that far, just about 15-20 mins, if even. The reason i am writing is basically to ask you, how i should deal with this situation during the 2 and a half years that i am forced to live with her?

    (p.s. If you have managed to read the whole thing PLEASE give me advice, I will be most grateful for your opinions and recommendations. )

  135. Cassie says:

    Reading these posts has helped me appreciate that I am not alone in dealing with and coping with a very difficult, manipulative, aggressive mother.

  136. Dee says:

    Oh my gosh – the post by Angela is like reading my life story with my mother. Coping with challenging parents is definitely a skill I haven’t mastered yet, but I’m improving.

  137. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear kordu,

    Yikes, it sounds like your mom takes life SO seriously! It sounds like it must be difficult to live with her…I hope you have support and help in your friends, family, or other areas of your life.

    When we have difficult parents, it often helps to remember that they’re coming from a place of pain. Your mom has been through things that have made her this way. It doesn’t mean it’s RIGHT for her to be controlling, negative, or critical…but it may help you accept her. Remember that she is this way for a reason — possibly because she was hurt in the past.

    I wish you all the best in your relationship with her.


  138. kordu says:

    my mom is the controlling person you can ever meet. she the most hardest working person i ever know. except theres no love or happiness. i feel sometime like me and my brother are just a respnsiblity to her. she say a lot of awful things to me and my little brother. i feel unhappy when she’s home . my liitle feels scared so mny times when shes home. shes very judemental.nothing is about what i want,she doesn’t except the fact that am not a girly girl.i love t-shirts.when we go shopping is about if she like it or not.lot of my teachers say why do come to school alot upset.she very dramatic.she so sweet to me sometimes ,but i just can’t believe if she’s faking or not, so i just get nice back but still i don’t believe she changed. then the next day shes angry,sreaming, yelling so loud. she never thinks she haves a problem never. she talks negative things about people,she hates when people make really worry why she does some of the things she does sometimes. shes such a difficult person to talk to, and i told her and she didn’t do anything about it. she cannot control her temper at all. she needs to work on out of control and then she end up being abusived.

  139. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Amanda,

    You’ve already taken the first step to coping with difficult parents: realizing that you are very different from your mom. You’re two different people with different perspectives, life goals, personalities, and hopes and dreams.

    The next step is to accept her for who she is. You can’t change her — nor should you change her! You can’t force her to accept her, but if you accept her, she may return the favor.

    You don’t have to be similar to your mother to love her, or to appreciate who she is. I encourage you to let her live her life the way she wants. And, you focus on living your life the way you want. Who do you want to be, where do you want to go? Set your intentions, and go for it.

    I also encourage you to set your boundaries with her. Go to the library or bookstore, and get books on setting and keeping boundaries.

    In How to Find Solutions to Relationship and Family Problems, I describe boundaries — but it’s better to get a whole book about them!

    It takes time, practice, and self-discipline to learn how to cope with difficult parents. If you’re really struggling, I encourage you to talk to a counselor. You may need guidance as you build your self-confidence and detach from your mom….

    I hope this helps and wish you all the best,

  140. amanda says:

    Hi Laurie,
    I am 29 and have a very dominationg mother. Everything she does is like an assignment that has to be finished. There is no love for the family. We are very different people. She is very career oriented and I am very social. There are too many dissimilarities. I have been doing everything she says for almost the past three decades and now im tired of it! I cant discuss this with her directly because then the emotional blackmail begins….. and I hate that! I am really losing my mind! help!

  141. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Michele, I’m glad you feel better and wish you all the best. I hope you come back soon and tell me how great things have worked out! :-)

    Natasha, thanks for your kind offer. If a reader asks for your email address, I’d be happy to give it to him or her.


  142. Michele says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for your reply, I can’t tell you how good it felt to have somebody be so confidant that things can work out one way or another. I will definitely be getting the book Toxix Parents as well as the book you suggested “Letting Go of Someone You Love: 75 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart and Let Go of the Past”. I am also looking into counseling.

    I truly appreciate what you have done here for all of us who are suffering with our family relationships. Thank you!

    All the best,

  143. Natasha says:

    Dear Laurie,

    My name is Natasha.

    I have had many many problems with an overbearing, insulting, demanding mother during my life. From an early age I was threatened with being abandoned if I did not reach the expectations she had of me. I am now 30 years old. Against her wishes, I am a professional writer and advice columnist. I chose this path rather than my qualified, intended path (physics) for two reasons – it helps me cope with a history of and ongoing family problems, and ultimately it means I can help others.

    When I read this blog I have to confess I was very emotional. It is incredible to read so many stories of people with similar issues to my own, and to each other. It doesn’t matter how often I hear the problems – it’s always incredibly rewarding to connect with others who have experienced similar set-backs. All are brave for having posted and your replies I’m sure have helped many of them greatly. I was particularly touched by the comments given by – and desperate to help – ‘Mon’from Sri Lanka, who I feel may need regular contact with a person who understands and wants to offer advice.

    Would you consider putting us in contact via email? If you wish to know more about me I would be happy to discuss my credentials and location first, to prove my genuine nature and desire to help this individual. I am very caring, strong and professional, and I think ‘Mon’ really needs someone to talk to.

    Please let me know how you feel about this possibility.

    Thank you for taking the time and effort to advise people who need support.


    13th October 2010

  144. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Michele,

    One thing’s for certain: you can’t expect your mom to change, so you need to stop trying! She is who she is. To stay emotionally and physically healthy, you need to accept her for who she is.

    And, you need to learn how to draw healthy boundaries in your life, and stick to them. Figure out what you are and are not willing to tolerate in your life — that’s that easy part. The hard part comes when you have to teach your mom that you will not veer from your boundaries no matter what she does.

    There’s alot going on in your relationship with your mother, and I encourage you to talk to a family counselor. You need support and guidance as you re-learn how to relate to her. A counselor can give you the tools you need to set your boundaries and stick to them.

    I also encourage you to read books about boundaries, or take a boundaries course for women.

    One way to stop the downward spiral into depression is to take action — because depression can be a result of feeling helpless and hopeless. You can take action in your life, by talking to a counselor, getting the right tools, and setting your boundaries.

    I hope this helps — it’s just the beginning of your journey to strength and healing! You can do it, my friend. Make this a priority in your life.

    You may also find Letting Go of Someone You Love: 75 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart and Let Go of the Past helpful. The tips apply to difficult parents and estranged family members — all types of broken relationships.


  145. Michele says:

    It is so helpful to read so many different stories as it makes me feel less alone. I am 32 years old only child raised by my single mother. She had me at 19 and by the time I was 9 I was practically raising her. She loved me plenty but she put herself first always which brought a flurry of men and drugs into our lives. I watched her do drugs and take physical abuse as she alienated our family until we were homeless. We lived in shelters for a while and practically starved… all because she made selfish choices. She managed to push away the one man that was close to a father to me and then the bomb hit… she was diagnosed with HIV. Fast forward 14 years and I am married for the past two years and my mother is ruining my life. She lives alone on disability benefits and is like a 51 year old child. She makes terrible judgment calls which get her into trouble and doesn’t manage her spending so she ends up in debt and gets her lights turned off and stuff. I have spent thousands of dollars bailing her out of trouble only for to continue to be careless and lie to my face about it until she needs help and then I am left to pick up the pieces. I have tried talking to her so many times about things and she still chooses to lie and do whatever she feels like. At this point my husband doesn’t want her in our lives and I feel completely hopeless as she wont change so the only way to have her in my life is to accept the terrible drama and turmoil she brings with her everywhere. Even if I was willing to accept that, my husband is not.
    I know she is toxic for me but I can’t seem to stop caring and it only brings me disappointment and anger when she let’s me down again. At this point I am afraid I am starting to fall into depression because I don’t know what to do. Our last argument was 6 weeks ago and we haven’t spoken since… help please I feel like I am going insane.

  146. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear April and Lynn,

    I’m very sorry to hear about your situations with your families. It sounds like you’re at the end of your rope – which is not a good place to be.

    I encourage you to get in-person support. I can’t give you the help you need here because I don’t have the pertinent information on your background, personality, relationships, or situation.

    Please call a counselor, social worker, spiritual leader, or a women’s helpline. You need to talk to someone in person, who can help you figure the best way to cope with your family situation and your emotions.

    Please talk to someone who can give you objective, professional support. You’re already headed in the right direction — reaching out for help and sharing what you’ve been through — and now you need to surround yourself with resources that will give you the strength and courage you need.

    I just wrote an article called How to Find Solutions to Relationship and Family Problems, which describes six ways to get help.

    Please read that article, and get in-person support – or online counseling help. I can’t offer that here.

    I wish you all the best — and welcome you to come back anytime to update me on how you’re doing!


  147. Lynn says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Well things got worse with everybody, if you can actually believe it.
    My father refuses to come into our house to see our little boy, so our son has to go out to the car to see him. My mother would come in and get him and bring him out. I told her the other day this was ridiculous, and if he wanted to see our son, he could come in like a civilized person. Why should our 3 year old be paraded in and out just to enable my father’s childish behavior? So, the whole fight from my original post got brought up again (we haven’t spoken to him since then, at all…well, my husband said hello, and my father replied, but that was all, and that was 2 weeks ago). And, my mother said to my husband “so, you are saying that you didn’t threaten to sue us for emotional stress?”. Apparently that is what my father is saying now. You could have knocked us down with a feather. My husband swore on our son’s life that he never said this, and that isn’t something he takes lightly. My mother replied “I choose to believe my husband” and left the house. We told her that any access to our son by them is denied – permanently. This occurred 4 days ago, and no words have been exchanged since on either side. I’m so sick of this mess. What can I do, or can anything be done? I feel like quitting work and moving away. Help!

  148. April says:

    Well where do I start, I have this overbearing, overreacting, overly sensitive,controlling, two-faced mother from hades, well I’m kidding she’s not from hades but I sometime feel like she is..about 2 yrs ago I met the man of my dreams while on a trip with friends to an amusement park,we hit it off & now married, but the thing is he lived 200 miles away so I moved from one state to another in order to be with him, & my mom didn’t like that fact that i was moving away with my kids, since she was always smothering me and always trying to raise me even though I’m 29 yrs old with three kids. Well now that I finally moved her bad side is coming out more & more with her making excessive visits. & staying for sometimes weeks @ a time, which my husband gets upset, which I feel like he’s justified, not to mention her snide comments & the constant disrespect toasted me, my husband, & my step daughter.. She’s two-faced & she’s always talking about my hubby & I to my children when I’m not around, I caught her doing it once, when I confront her she’s one of two things even overly angry or overly sensitive & starts time she stayed for almost a month when I had surgery just because she wanted to stay for her bday then in the same month she came back again with my dad when he came to visit. She talks about my step daughter behind my back to the point where my step daughter asks me why my mom don’t Los her. I just wished she wouldn’t come so much, & when she does that she knew when to leave without being asked or just waiting patiently to leave on her own..she brings negativity & a sense of drama to my house & I’m sick of it. I’m sick of my husband having to ask me when she’s going to go home, & having to give me ultimatums. Like if I do t tell her to go he will, cause he doesn’t want to but he feels forced to. & I hate not feeling close to her anymore & feeling betrayed by her two-faced negative nature, I’m to the point where I don’t even feel like being bothered by her at all. I wished she’d get a life & stop trying to live through mines, & I think she’s jealous of my life because I’m not afraid to live it & take chances & she can’t. I don’t know what to do anymore please help..

  149. Lynn says:

    Hi Laurie,

    Thanks so much for replying, many sites do not, and I greatly appreciate it! Do you recommend moving away? I’m so torn…part of me wants to, but part of me doesn’t. I have a house I love (even though my parents signed for the mortgage, we pay for it), and a good job with wonderful co-workers. My husband is set to go back to school, and things feel like they are finally on keel for us, with the exception of my dad. He controls my mom, totally, even though she denies it, and I wonder if he thinks by him being on the mortgage, he’s controlling us. I don’t think relations with him and my hubby will ever get any better (it’s been 10 years), and last night he came to our house with some girls who spent the night with us (their parents stayed at my parents house, and they had to stay at ours because my parents didn’t have a bed for them), and he treated me like a stranger, and acted like he was dropping off a parcel. “Here are your houseguests. Their names are X and Y. They have their own car, and are not in your way. Ok, girls, you know the way back to our house if you want to come back tomorrow. Take care and see you” (this last bit was directed at the girls, not at me). Then he left. He didn’t ask about the baby, or me, or anything. It’s been over a week now, and we haven’t spoken. I don’t know what to do. Do I stay here and just be blanked out by him and do it back, or do we move again, and start over again? I just don’t know. We don’t really have the money to move, but we would save and go as soon as we could. What do you advise? I used to want a relationship with my mom, but I don’t anymore. She has to be at his beck and call, and I’m not interested in doing that. My husband is so totally the opposite of my dad, and I think that’s where some of the problems lay. I feel like crying all the time, but I don’t let my little boy see. When he mentions his grandparents, we give vague responses, because we don’t want this mess to affect him. I wish I could just move, but I hate to give up my life, but then I feel like I’m paying too high a price for it!!! What do you think?


  150. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Lynn,

    I’m sorry to hear about your difficult dad — that’s very sad and frustrating. It’s especially heartbreaking that your husband and child are involved…that must be so hard for you.

    To give you some ideas for coping with him, I’ve written an article (it’s too much to say here!):

    How Do I Confront My Overbearing Parents – for Grown Children

    And, here are two other articles that may help:

    Is Father’s Day Difficult? 6 Tips for a Better Relationship With Dad

    6 Tips for Toxic Relatives – How to Handle Problems With Family

    I also encourage you to talk to a family counselor. There are alot of things going on with your dad, and in your family relationships, that can’t be solved in this comments section. You need to find ways to set healthy boundaries and stick to them, and perhaps find the best way to get some emotional and physical distance from your father. A family counselor can help you and your husband figure this out, and find ways to deal with your dad.

    You CAN be happy with your husband and child — you just need to take action towards creating the life you want! I know it’s hard…but you need to find the strength and courage within yourself to do what’s best for you and your husband and child.

    I wish you all the best, and hope you let me know how things progress!


  151. Lynn says:

    Please help me! For 10 years, I have been with a great guy, and we’ve been married for 8. We have a beautiful, smart and funny little boy who is three. The problem is my father. My husband I had moved due to my employment, but after I had our son, I wanted to move back to my hometown. The relationship between my husband and my father has never been good. My father has always thought of my husband as a loser, and on occasion, told him so. My husband has no post-secondary education, but is a very hard worker and has provided for me and our child. My parents got us a mortgage because due to my student loans, and the fact that we just moved, and my husband is currently unemployed (the first time in 20 years) we could not get one ourselves. We pay the mortgage and bills every month, we just couldn’t get one. It was my parents’ idea to put an apartment in our basement so our mortgage would be less, and they agreed that when we got our footing in a year or so, we would take out a loan and repay them for the renovations. My dad and my husband have done most of the work themselves, and have had a few blowups along the way. My dad has made nasty comments, and for the past 10 years, my husband has sucked it up. No more. Now he’s coming back at him, and defending himself.
    My parents make us feel like we are incompetent when it comes to our son. They installed FIVE baby gates in our home while we were away, and constantly criticize our food choices. My dad decided to give us $300 for a special formula for our son for the first two years of his life, now he keeps saying “I wouldn’t have wasted my money if I knew you’d be feeding him that shit”. (ie: macaroni and cheese, occasional trips to McDonald’s, etc). My mother buys him clothes, because she swears he has none.
    My husband grew up poor. He was one of five children from an abusive home, so his mom divorced his dad when my husband was 10 and they grew up on social assistance. My dad never lets him forget it, and calls him “nothing” and a fake and a phony, and a loser, and most recently a “fu**ing punk who knows nothing” He put his face in my husband’s face and rubbed his fingers together and demanded the money for the apt (about $10,000), and waved his arm over the house stating “if it wasn’t for me you wouldn’t have any of this fu**ing thing here. All you’re any fu**ing good for cleaning fu**ing floors. You know fu** all.” And it went on. Finally my husband snapped, and started yelling back. All this while our son watched and our neighbor watched. My husband told him that yes, it’s true my dad GOT it for us, but we are paying for it, and never missed a payment. This all started because my husband was home with our son and my dad asked me what was for supper and I said “I don’t know, my husband is cooking, because I’m working”, and my dad said, “oh macaroni again”. Always with the comments. I told my husband, because I was upset, and when my dad pulled up unannounced at our house, my husband confronted him on the comment. My dad replied “I was just joking” and my husband told him he didn’t appreciate being talked about like he’s an idiot. Then all hell broke loose. My son was crying and saying to my husband “poppa’s mad at you. Poppa doesn’t like you”. My husband told me he was leaving, he couldn’t take it anymore, and my son heard him and started crying again “daddy, don’t leave”. Now my dad wants nothing at all to do with my husband or me, and if we don’t want our son to be around him, that’s fine too. I don’t feel comfortable in the house, and I keep seeing him in my mind rubbing his fingers together. It sickens me, and I want to move away again, but I don’t know what to do. I have a job I enjoy, with co-workers I like, my husband can go back to school and get a trade, but it’s coming at a high cost which I don’t really want to pay. If we move, I’ll have to give away my 8 year old golden retriever, or most likely put him down, because he has food aggression. My mom told me she is backing my father 100%, and I feel caught in the middle. I hate my life and spend a lot of my time feeling like crying and wishing my dad would just drop dead, or me. I don’t care anymore. And, it’s the thought of leaving my little boy that stops me from curling up and not caring. Please help. It will not get any better. It just gets worse and worse. My father flips out all the time, and he’s been like this my whole life. My aunt wants me to move my family up with her, far, far away from my dad, but I don’t want to give up my job, dog, and I guess my hope it will someday get better. And, if he dies (I hope), my mom will be left alone. I hate him so much. Why can’t he let us live our lives in peace? He’s a bully. If I go, am I running away? What do I do? I don’t have the money to go, but if I had to, I would. I feel like just throwing some clothes in a suitcase, and grabbing my hubby and son, and getting in the car, but then there are the other factors. What do I do? I’m an only child, and my dad has been this hateful my whole life. It’s just gotten worse. I think he has a brain tumor, but if that’s the case, he’s had one for 30 years now. I keep hoping he dies. I know it’s terrible, but I honestly believe it’s the only way it will stop. I’m tired of walking on eggshells. My husband has never said anything about him, and when I try to talk to my mother, she hangs up on me. I’m going insane!!! Please help me somebody!!!!!

  152. mon says:

    i’m a 24 year old girl studying IT from Sri Lanka. i’m not working currently. for the record, it’s quite ok for a girl in our country not to work. also it’s not a necessity in our culture for the children to move into a new place when they grow up unless they get married or something like that. have an elder brother studying abroad now which i’m not in good terms of. my father is the breadwinner of the family and my mother barely leave the house. my parents are not that socialized.

    honestly i do not know where and why the problem lies in this house but i certainly know that the way things operate in our family is different from normal people. to start with my mother barely make contact with outsiders. she doesn’t even step out to do errands. she doesn’t chat with the neighbors or friends [which i think she doesn’t have] and uses the house phone only to communicate with my father. just for the record she’s completely healthy woman in her 50’s. i consider her very repellent. if my father suggest something she would disagree at some point then give her opinion if father agrees with that then she would change it again. it’s hard if not impossible to win her or please her. we not a close family anyway. i do not remember a day at all we hugged each other or expressed love to each other. our family have gone on trips or for movies together for like about 6 times in my whole life time [i’m not joking about the count here]. we don’t have fun Sundays or special meals or surprise parties or anything. and for birthday’s me and my brother, we get a cake from the bakery but no gifts exchanging or special treats etc will be there. my parents birthdays are not at all celebrated. we never go to temple for worshiping [that’s another part of we not going out] not that my parents aren’t religious. my father is not a party person or more socialized either. he keeps in touch with relatives when they need help [my father is doctor by the way] and ask them for help if needed. as for my mother she’s not in good terms with her relatives anyway. she brings up fights with them too. Its not surprising we don’t have guests at our place.

    my brother is 4 years elder to me. i actually hate my brother because he’s such a rude person. i believe that he put flames to the situation we have at our place by behaving the way he does. he talks differently with parents, i would like to use the word “rude” and “insulting” and “humiliating” to describe his way. i don’t feel like he’s an elder brother to me at all. he’s never tender and caring. it’s not that he’s violent but he’s so rude and cunning at times. i know if i had a younger brother or sister i would take care of them and defend them and be a good big sis to them unlike my big brother. my brother is actually closer to my parents than i am. he talks about work and stuff with them but still he sticks to his ‘way’ when doing so. it drives me insane to hang around my brother and parents. so i have chosen to barely speak to them and stay out of the way.

    i spend most of the time in my room. since i got internet and I study IT i could keep myself busy all day. my parents expect me to study all the time and that’s what they think i’m doing in my room all the time and that’s what i act like i’m doing if my mother comes to check. i know it’s very silly but that’s how it goes. for instance if i’m watching a comedy on my pc i make sure they don’t see me laughing and i find myself turning my head towards the room’s door subconsciously to see if mother is around. even when i talk with my friends over the phone i keep my voice low. if my mother hears me she would come and question about it – and yes i fear that i do not know why. i picture my mother questioning about my friends ironically or in a way diminishing their character. i have chosen not to tell anything about my friends to them. i believe i’m scared of my mother. i do not remember my parents being tender and caring to me either. When I was schooling I wanted to do sports and be active. but my parents would say it’s hard to give me a lift after school or it’s expensive or mainly my mother would say ‘aah is that what you want to do? that’s not what you have to do now, do your studies now’. even now I want to do sports and attend dance sport class etc but I dare to ask them for it cause i really fear the smirk on my mother’s face or my father shaking his head or the usual question ‘SO are all your other study things complete now ?’ [well my brother have more freedom than I do cause he’s a boy and he’s allowed to come late home – he would still lie anyway about where he went to my parents ]

    to sum up i think the way my parents look at life is very very different. but the scary thing is i’m their child. and for what ever they do and what ever they say they also have a justification to give. that makes the child confusing. In our country we respect our parents more and the society expects more to do so too. As I mentioned before we do not move out from parent’s house like in the western countries. that’s what maybe makes this tougher. i know i’m not a kid but these things are affecting me and my life badly. i’m suppose to be spending these days out there in the world enjoying the challenges enjoying the life the way it’s suppose to be. and i’m not. I’m a quite pretty girl with a talents inside me and ready accept ‘real ’ challenges in life. i’m wasting my whole life which i’ll never get back sitting inside a room and not hanging out together with people and typing this message in a comment which I don’t weather I’ll ever get replied to.

  153. Angel says:

    I’m 30 years old and have been married for 8 years. My parents and brother live in another country (I moved away when I was 18), and even though I had a very trying relationship with my mom, things had been great between us since I moved away.
    About 5 years ago my parents and I started talking about working on a business together, since my mom has the expertise, my dad the managerial expertise, and I have the business expertise. It all sounded great and they were planning to move here once their paperwork came through. Well, most everything worked out as planned. My husband and I purchased a house big enough for everyone, which would be used as collateral in the business. My brother moved in 2 years ago and started attending college (he was 20). Then 3 months later my parents moved in with their 3 cats. They were not able to sell their house back home just yet so the business couldn’t be started and they only had a set amount of money on them. So we verbally agreed to not share bills, and they could purchase a few grocery items if they could. So here we are, 19 months later, the house still hasn’t sold, they both got jobs (but not very good ones), but they are still only paying for some groceries… Yet they managed to purchase a car and go on vacation, but when the subject is brought up they get offended and say they have no money… My husband and I feel used by this. So my husband and I have been putting up with their awful behaviour of constantly being criticized, struggling to get them to do chores around the house, and respect our furniture and house items (they’ve broken several items and never replaced them). They act as if it’s their right to be here and are not grateful. They blab to my friends about how much they hate the economy, and they can only see things in a negative light.
    I’ve been unable to get any of the business ideas of the ground because my gut hasn’t allowed me to, and now I know it’s because we would never get along. Our arguments are constantly escalating, and I cannot have a fair discussion with them as everything becomes my fault. I brought this up with them and they agreed we don’t get along at home, but they think we will certainly work well together, that it’s different. In the meantime I found something I really want to do as a career, it’s something independent but unrelated to what we originally had planned. When I broke the news this week the reaction was that I was abandoning my own flesh and blood, that I ruined their lives because I told them I would do this with them and now they are stuck here. I told them I would help them develop the business plan but would not use my house as collateral since I didn’t want to be involved in it. They said they want my business expertise plus my house, which is ridiculous. They threatened me that this might break the family and they might never speak to me again, which I believe them, after I told them I was doing this to preserve our relationship. They also said I’m selfish for going on a different direction.
    The way I see it is that I don’t think we’ll get along, and I do feel bad that I said we would do this together, but they are the ones that changed my mind with their behaviour! In a way it was a blessing, especially because now I found a career I really want!
    Do they have a point here? I just don’t know what to think anymore… I just wish I could tell them to move out but when that day comes I’m 100% sure it will end our relationship forever… help!

  154. Gabby says:

    Hi again ,,,,,,, I’ve been doing a lot thinking since I posted and I have decided to keep my Mother at arms length to keep my sanity . No longer is she allowed to treat me this way , if she tries it will be a longer period of time before I talk to her again . I can’t think of any thing else to do , any suggestions ?

  155. Gabby says:

    Oh where do I start ,,, I’m from a family of 5 , All my life my mother has picked on me, belittled me , mean and always puts me down . my nick name as a child was dummy until my father put a stop to it . I’m all grown up and have an grownen family of my own and still to this day if she can bash me she will . I have talked many hrs with my baby sister and she is always surprized when I tell her some of the things she has said to me , she has seen this first hand and if I’m not there she tells my Mother to knock it off. Anyway I got a call from my sis last night and she was over at my mothers and out of the blue My mother says ” I just don’t know why I’m so mean to your sister ! she irritates me and I have never liked her even as a baby ” I sat there stunned and being that she has actually has confessed this to my sister . I have always know she doesnt’t like me but hearing it has upset me needless to say .There is no talking to her as it will never change , believe me I have tried and I end up the bad one again .

  156. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Help and Mel,

    I wrote another article about dealing with difficult parents — it offers more help than I could give here in the comments section!

    6 Tips for Toxic Relatives – How to Handle Problems With Family

    Let me know if it helps….


  157. Mel O says:

    It has been really uplifting and somewhat reassuring to read some of these posts. My husband and I took my MIL into our home about 7 years ago. We have been through struggles with drinking, smoking, anorexia and prescription drug use; that was before and after open heart surgery and extended hospital stay for DT’s. She refused to help herself, she is non compliant and all we do to try to help her is a battle. We are just worn from the battle. I have 2 children, 13 and 10. We try to live a Christian life, do whats right but its really taking its toll on us. We had a final blow last night when we caught her smoking in the bathroom she shares with my boys. She doesn’t help out with housework, bills or anything else. Last night my husband had to tell his mother to find somewhere to live. She does have 2 daughters that will not allow her to live with them. We are in such a moral dilemma. We have tried so hard to help her out and be there for her but we are just done with the battle. On the other hand, its his mother.

  158. HELP !! says:

    hi i have the most difficult parents ever and i don’t know how to deal with i try to be honest with them but no matter what i do they don’t listen to me they don’t respect me i used to fight with them a lot and tel what’s in my heart hoping that it might touch them some how but it never did and i reach out a stage that i can not fight any longer they still disrespect me of course i have my mistakes but inever did any thing that hurt them or humiliated them in any way because i know what i have to do and what i don’t but they always take me as a child i try to talk to them one on one my dad run away and my mom listen’s for a minute or two and when she hear’s somthing she don’t like even if it’s true and she might not see it she make’s a huge fight out of it and i am sick of tehy way they treat me they curse me some times when i am only saying somthing they don’t want to hear or if they ask me to do somthing but i don’t do it right away they don’t let me be my self because they make me feel that beeing my self is somthing wrong and they don’t let me go out my dad won’t even teach me how to drive for some kind of a psychological reason in his had and i am 19 years old and he don’t allow any one else to teach me and he’l make a fight out of it my mum can’t accept the life style that i want and i feel like i am always akting i am me i am who they want me to be and somtimes i feel like i m gonna explod i ve became frustrated !! and i feel like every second of my life is getting lost with me sitting and looking at it and i can’t do any thing about it i’ve tried every thing and nuthing seams to work and i have a psychologist in my college but he’s not helping me to find answers so plz any one who might have a solution to this plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz help me cz i am suffocating !!!!

  159. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Bernadette,

    I’m sorry to hear things are so rough for you right now. It sounds very stressful — no wonder you’re depressed! Your mom is definitely a difficult parent to cope with.

    You may be feeling depressed partly because you don’t feel like you have any control in this situation. You feel helpless and like there’s nothing you can do. So, I encourage you to change the things you CAN change. Even knowing you have control over the littlest things can make a difference.

    Your mom won’t change, but you can focus on things you CAN change. For instance, you might consider getting a couple of part-time jobs, or finding a full-time job that’s just temporary. Or, you might try to find a rental that isn’t too expensive, that you and your husband can afford.

    No matter what you do, you’ll find it stressful — and there will always be hoops to jump through! But, you need to start taking control over the things you can change…..even the littlest things, like how you respond to your mom’s words and actions.

    I also suggest calling a help line or depression line, and talking to someone in person. You may discover some resources in your area that you didn’t kow existed, such as support groups for people with depression, or low rental accommodations, or even free employment counseling.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best.

    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …Reach Money Goals Faster – 5 Ways Your Friends Help or Hinder =-.

  160. Bernadette says:

    please send me an email with comment or advise

  161. Bernadette says:

    I feel I have been a victim of the economy,and for that reason we moved from the desert back to socal. My mother is in her mid 70’s and had lived alone for the past 20 years or so. My father died in 1999. I lived in socal all my life and my family and I needed a change so we moved to a small rural desert town near Las Vegas. We sold out house bought another one, and lived there for 5 years. My mother was very hurt that I moved the family away. I am the only child but at 40 I felt it was time to cut the cord. Fast forward to present, the jobs we no good and low paying, the culture was terrible, the weather either a oven or freezer. We got tired of it, I spoke to my mother about it and she said she was all alone and that we could move in with her. That is me, my husband, and my two teenagers 18, 16. It has been hell since day one. She gets mad at my family all the time. I realize that we are in her house, and we try to do the things she wants us to do but it is just not good enough. My kids slam the doors shut, I told them to do it gently, my son has his own room in the house, he prefers the couch, she says it is messy and it stinks like feet. If I cook in her kitchen it is never clean the way she likes it, if I use the wrong spoon oh god, you will never hear the end of it. The funny part is, is that I am the solehome owner of the house and I live in the back in a converted garage. I do not want to kick her out, all I want is harmony and peace. I would move out in a New York minute if I had the means to do so. I am still looking for a fill time permanenet job. Then I have to jump through all the corporate hoops and hope I pass probation, save money to move out, I see this happening in 6-12 months. In the mean time. i am depressed, I have panic and anxiety attacks. Not too mention that I have no kitchen of my own or space for me or my husband. I just went to the doctor today for lab work, the stressors in my life are terrible. I wish I could have a millions dollars just to move out, ASAP. My mother is toxic, she did not give me one gift for mothers day, after dissing my whole family and how much she hates us and how much she regrets that she ever let us move in with her, I told her that she had better stop because I was having a panic attack and she was like why don’t you just die then?? and have your whole family leave. My husband can’t pay all the expenses with his salary he needs me to work too. This is bad on my whole family..any advise will be appreciated.

  162. kathy brown says:

    my mother i think is atype 2 control freak and has been putting me down for years she has been a personal rival to me when i couldnt see it when i was younger and blindly trusted her i trusted her with a parcel of land which was an investment for my children and i and i also trusted her with a large amount of money she ha stolen both off them and lives in a fantasy world together with my father while i struggle she dished my and my childrens money out to my three sisters while i was away without me knowing and made my children go without she has a gambling addiction with the pokies and is a very unsucsesful business woman she has a second hand shop which has been running at a loss for at least 10 years and she has been covering her losses with my money she is still very competitive toward me and she thinks my life on this earth is to subsidise her failures she has succsesfully distorted reality over the ownership of my million dollar property and has sold more than three quarters of it and squandered the money the reason that i she ended up being trusted with my money is because i had troubles with the law and had to flee the country that is mostly sorted out now but her and my father have taken financial advantage of me while calling me no good a criminal she continues to refer to her and my father as a team the team have succsessfully separated me from my children stolen all of our money and are still active in the manipulation of me the time that i spend with her she is swering and putting my father and everyone elce down and claiming that they have wronged her in a really angry and nasty voice which i know is really directed at me and yesterday because i shut the seatbelt in the door she started screaming obsceneties at me what can i do oh and when i tried to legally claim my land through the courts she went to a politician and complained that i had gone insane and i was investigated she has manipulated everyone into beleiving that it is their land and has caused an irrepairable rift between me and my sisters in her bid to isolate me she interfered in any relationships that ive had with men gong back more than 20 years and has caused so many tears and arguments over the years with malicious b****ing on the phone with my sisters she denies any wrong doing

  163. "mamie" says:

    As bad as this sounds I almost feel a huge relief knowing that I am not crazy and there are other women walking in my shoes right now.
    I will try to be brief. Basically I am divorced and have a daughter (11) my fiance was married for less than a year and does not have any children. My fiance’s mother is full vietnamese and father is American. At first I thought (and maybe still has SOME to do with all of this) maybe her having ONLY BOYS (he has one brother only), him being the baby and the fact that her culture could play a role was the only reason she wouldnt like me.

    My fiance and I literally met at chance. We’ve been head over heels about one another since meeting. They say lobsters mate for life, we tell each other all the time we are one anothers lobster. I love this man so much, a love that I never knew existed. The 2nd Corinthians talks about this type of love that I have with him so I think how in the world could something that feels so right, true love, unselfish, feel so bad because of his family? As a mom I think when my daughter gets married I certainly hope she takes the life lessons I am teaching her, the values and morales to find her match however, in the end if he is not the perfect person in my eyes as long as she loves him, he respects her, provides for her and protects her that is all that I could ask for. WHY in the world does my fiances on mother not feel this way about HIM?

    His family lives 6 hours away. He is such a wonderful son, so respecful, truly a mothers dream (my mother would LOVE a son like him and I jokinly say that my family loves my finace more than they do I). Everything had been going well. We try to visit monthly (yes, its a burden but I have done everything possible to ensure her that I am NOT taking him away from her and that I will care and love him the best I can and ensure I only help foster THEIR relationship). For 6 months in a row we went down to see them and stay for at least a week each time, taking my daughter with us (we sleep in seperate bedrooms of course from him). Everything seemed to be going so well. We were so elated that his family liked me, my daughter really likes his family, I THOUGHT they liked my daughter (there are no other kids in this small family so my daughter seems to bring an innocent fun/joy when we are there), my family of course loves him, IT WAS PERFECT. At Thanksgiving MY FAMILY even went with us to visit his family and all shared the holiday together. BOTH parents privately went on and on to us about the other parents saying that they are great people. BOTH sides are very similar….middle class families who have worked hard to raise their family, never divorced. At Christmas time his mothers sister (also vietnamese of course) came to visit for the holidays. I had been warned that she was a very tough cookie and probably wouldnt like me. WRONG, so i thought, SHE LOVED ON ME and MY DAUGHTER the entire week. She hugged on us, kissed our cheek, braided my childs hair daily, invited us to come stay at the beach soon with her, etc.. I couldnt have been happier. On the way home from that trip my fiance even told me in private that his mother pulled him aside and asked why he hadnt proposed yet, suggesting that he do so. SERIOUSLY…MAYBE I WAS IN LA LA LAND OR A FAIRY TALE BUT IT TRULY FELT THIS WAY, I AM NOT EXAGERATING! The ONLY thing we kept from them all out of respect is the fact we were planning to move in with each other (makes no differenc now anyway).

    In January he called his mom and said, mom just wanted to let you know I took your advice and bought a ring, I am going to propose on Valentines. THIS WAS SUCH A PIVITOL moment. Rather than hearing how excited she was he was flabergasted to hear her begin to GO OFF. One thing led to another, first calm then downright hateful. They got off the phone to cool down and for the next month there were 2 more phone calls ALL with her TRYING HER BEST (trying to be sad, guilt him, etc.. anything to change his mind) to convince him I was not the one. She basically said her reason is that I am too old (im 3 years older), my childs too old (shes 11), im too old to have kids and will have no sex drive, im trash, my family thinks they are “uppety” although my dad has worked 2-3 jobs his entire life to have the things he does. EVEN HIS LEVEL HEADED FATHER “nicely” got on the phone (possibly with her convincing him to as she wears the pants) saying he agreed! The last conversation she said that her entire family (all 3 men, the dad included) were nothing but trash to her, she ruined her life (should of married a vietnamese man) and he was just trash, didnt love her or know how to take care of her, etc… My fiance politely said mom if you think im trash then I dont have to be your son, until you tell me your sorry and apologize and say your proud of your family dont call me back again. He hasnt spoken to her since. A few days later the aunt (who is older than his mom and bitter widow) called going off saying the same things! I DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT HAS HAPPENED AT ALL! Please help! I appreciate that my fiance says he chose me, not them and im his family now but im so worried eventually he will blame me for this in the end? I even asked him if i could write her a letter or call he said not to. NOW as always (btw…the family has always accussed her of having mental illness but she flips out if its mentioned about getting help)she wants to pretend none of this has happened and is trying to weasel her way back in. Shes getting info. on us via his brother (who by the way is LOVING LOVING LOVING THIS attention they are giving him now as the “only child”). She cant be happy w/both sons at one time, she is angry all the time at one of them and if you knew these men (they are in their 30’s!!!) they are such nice guys, so respectful, hard workers, etc…
    Any advice? I literally have tried everything and ill NEVER EVER forget the things shes done and said now.

  164. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Cris,

    I suggest learning as much as you can about healthy boundaries. Setting your boundaries is one thing — which it sounds like you’re doing — but sticking to your boundaries is a whole new ball of wax!

    There are some great books about boundaries on Amazon (or at your local library) — such as the one I feature in this article:

    5 Ways to Protect Your Boundaries Despite Criticism

    It’s normal that you feel upset because of your relationship with your mom! A rocky, difficult relationship with anyone is hard to flow with…and it’s worse with our parents. Our mom and dad is supposed to protect us, love us, and keep us secure. But, when our parental relationships are so difficult, our worlds are turned upside down. It’s hard to take.

    I encourage you to talk to a counselor or therapist. Your friends — and I — can’t give you the support and objective ear you need. Sometimes, all it takes is one session to give you clarity and direction…and other times, it takes a little longer. But, most of the time, counseling gives you a valuable perspective on yourself and the people in your life, which you can’t get from books or the internet.

    I hope this helps, and hope you let me know how things go after you talk to a counselor…


  165. cris says:

    Thank you for posting this article. I was pacing the floors in my apartment tonight in a mixture of anxiety and depression over my seemingly insatiable mother.
    Background: Mother &father divorced;very dysfunctional and mentally,emotionally,physically and sexually abused childhood.However, I learned a few years ago, that irregardless of my upbringing; I am ultimately responsible for who I become.

    Iam 28yrs old. My mother has been diagnosed with clinical depression. I supect manic/bipolar. Basically, she is 49yrs old. For the last 5 yrs she has experienced alot of loss. To be frank she has gone from a single but happily dating single working mother to a physically patially disabled unemployed single but not dating and homeless mother. Obviously alot has occurred in between. During the “Alot” phase all of our friends and family have extended ourselves in every way possible to help her regain her life. But for whatever reason, whenever she would start working within a short period of time 1week to 1month “something” would happen and she would be unemployed again. Meanwhile, she is being completely taken care of by her children and her own parents mainly and a few friends that help every now and then. This cycle has gone on for 4 years. Well its gotten to the point that no one wants to help anymore because we feel like she is not trying to help herself. She knowingly incurrs expesnses that she cant afford and then goes around recruiting people to cover them. Well lately no one will, loan her money, or co-sign for personal bank loans, credit cards, apartements, etc anymore and she has these TERRIBLE tantrums that involve screaming,cursing,name calling,manipulative statements like “if you loved me you would…” or”if you dont; youre not my child and dont call me anymore until you can do…” and even physical confrontation. It has become too much.
    Everyone gave up on her except me very recently. But she is just out of control. My sister(who she has lived with for over 2yrs) put her out recently because it was destroying her marraige and she is currently pregnant. My grandmother took her in, because I live out of state,and my grandmother cannot walk and needed some help. She tricked my grandmother into thinking that she was going to stay with her and help her while getting her own affairs in order. Two weeks later she talked my grandmother into lending her a few hundred dollars and left. She put the money down on a new apartment and got upset with my grandmother and everyone else when we found out saying “i want my own place!” Thats great but she didnt have a job to pay future rent or get utilities turned on. A day before these expenses were due, she calls me in a matter of fact sort of way indicating that she needed me to cover these expenses for 3 months until she starts working. My first inclination based on more than enough experience with her; was to say no. My sister,aunt,grandmother, etc to this day have creditors calling because of her. My sister actually has an eviction lawsuit because of a house she co-signed for her.
    When I answered her contrary to my gut feeling “okay mom, I dont like doing things like this. But if you cannot pay the bill, or it gets behind I am going to have to discontinue the services.” She flew off the handle! She began to tell me that I had better not ever say anything like that to her, who do I think I am…blah blah. At that moment that was my confirmation that she was repeating a cycle and I just couldnt take it anymore. I said no. I was severely depressed all day. She called me again this evening and casually sais “Ok, so tomorrow I need those things done a.s.a.p because you are all I have left to do them I have no other choice…” Almost as if our earlier conversation did not take place. But I still felt like it was just enough. I told her I was sorry, but I just cannot help her when her behavior is so irratic and irresponsible, and manipulative. I got another ear full to say the least. But I just cant figure out why I am so tormented. I feel so sorry for her losing everything and suffering the side effects of it; but I also feel like her quality of life would improve so much if she just picked herself up and started to slowly put the pieces back together. I ve had to do it to clean up self destructive habits I created and maintained due to not accepting and getting over my terrible child hood. It took alot of faith,painful looks in the mirror,soul searching,crying,hard work,and accepting full responsibility for myself. I just dont understand why she just wont do the same. And it hurts to know that she may never speak to me again if I dont cover these expenses for her. Sorry for the life story. Ive burned my friend’s ears off with this ongoing craziness. Fresh insight would probably change my life. Thanks : )

  166. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Kay,

    I think the best way to cope with difficult parents is to NOT worry about how to act around them! Instead, you need to just be yourself and forget about how they perceive you or what they think.

    This seems like simple (and perhaps simple-minded!) advice, but it’s actually very difficult. Being yourself is one of the most difficult things every — especially in front of our parents. But, it is possible.

    So, my advice is to focus on expressing who you are, what you think, and what you want out of life. Take a deep breath when you’re with your parents, and let your true self come out. It’s a challenging way to live your life…but trust me, the more you do it, the easier it gets.

    And, accept that you do care what your parents think. And, your parents may never be ready to let you go. That’s just part of your life — and their lives — and you may not be able to change that. It is what it is. However, it doesn’t mean you have to change who you are or what you say…it just means that that’s the way you and your parents are.

    I wish you all the best with them…


  167. Kay says:

    Hello! I to have difficult parents too. Sometimes I feel like a young child when around my parents. But when I am able to act my age they seem to be threated by that. Sometimes I don’t know how to act around them because they may not be ready to accept that fact that I am grown now. What should I do? I want to be myself.

  168. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Adele,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! How exciting :-)

    I’m sorry to hear about your mom — that’s sad, that you and she have never really connected. But, it’s also fairly common! That is, we can love our family members, but not understand or even like them. We have to have chemistry with them, just like with our friends, spouses, and fiances. It sounds like you and your mom never had chemistry, and she was a difficult parent as well.

    Yes, there’s a good chance that your parents are the way they are because of their own childhood experiences. If we don’t deal with the things we experience, then we turn around and negatively affect other people’s lives!

    I can’t tell you if you should end all contact with them…that’s such a huge decision, especially when you have children.

    Have you considered family counseling? I think it’s worth suggesting to your parents….the worst they can say is no, and at least you know you’re trying to make your relationship better!

    I also suggest reading as much as you can about dealing with difficult parents, and applying those suggestions to your life. Alot of those books are written by counselors or psychologists, who really do have good tips for dealing with difficult people.

    Finally, I suggest you to think about limiting the time you spend communicating with them. You don’t necessarily need to cut your parents out of your life; rather, you can give them a quick call every 2-3 months — or you can even send a note instead of calling. Give yourself some space to enjoy your new love and pregnancy! I also think that cutting your parents out might detract from your happiness, because it’s such a cold thing to do. I support it in many circumstances and am not telling you that you shouldn’t do it…I’m just saying that it may make you feel worse than if you limited contact to a superficial level.

    I hope this helps…and please come back and let me know how your pregnancy’s going, and if you have a boy or a girl!

    Take care,


  169. Adele says:

    wow, how lucky i am to have found this site!
    I am 25 years old and have incredibly diifcult parents (mainly mum, dad just goes along with what she says). i have just gotten off the phone from telling my mum i am pregnant. well she isnt happy at all.
    I feel i had a tough childhood…more in an emotional way than anything.
    I have never got on well with my mum and have never felt a closeness to her that i would assume most mother/daughters would have. I have never been shopping with my mum or just hang out with her. she feels like a stranger to me really.
    I was emotionally abused as a child, having been overprotected by both parents. I was nevr allowed to sleep over at friends houses and when i was i was always “punished” the next day by having to stay indoors for the rest of the day. I remember this vividly happening when i was 17!!!!
    My issue now is my parents have never ever liked anyone I have been with and noone would ever be good enough in their eyes. I have had 5 serious boyfreinds and they have disliked them all.
    I am nw engaged to my partner of 2 1/2 years (my parents dont officially know this as I never annouced this to them-which has been over a year now!) they have not liked him since about 3 month sinto our relationship. They have never given me a proper reason why they do not like him (although i think they feel he is not good enough job wise, wealth wise, family wise)
    i always have this dreaded sick feeling everytime i need to speak to my mum and feel that although i know deep down she loves me, she doesnt truely love me.
    When i was 18 i used to go out clubbing (like most 18 yo!) and would get abused if i wasnt home by 1pm at the lastest. The abuse was worse when they were drinking.
    I cant help but resent them and feel i need to cut them out of my life. My brother is treated the complete opposite, and I guess being gay i can understand. But he gets away with everything!
    i am just wonderign now that i am pregnant and mum mum stating she is not happy and will never accept my fiance, but i am truely happy (for once in my life i have felt free) that i should cut them out? I have my partners parents whom i get on very well with and i guess the baby would not be without influential grandparents.Both my parents had bad childhoods (mums dad died when she was 16 and her mum was apprarently a so called b*tch etc) and dad was adopted…i am curious to know is this why they are so f*cked up towards me?
    at 25 i still feel tied down to my parents and that i have to do everything they tell me to do and that anything i do wont make them happy. i would appreciate someone replying as i note the advice has been really good and what i should do! i cant talk to any relatives on either my mum or dads side as my parents will feel i am taking sides!

  170. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi RJ,

    I think it’s great that you set your boundaries, and I’ve found that setting boundaries with difficult parents isn’t necessarily the problem. As you’re learning, the problem is sticking to those boundaries, and coping with other family members’ responses to the lines drawn in the sand.

    Regarding your family members: they probably believe that other people (you) should live the way they themselves live. That means they think you should put up with your mother’s behavior because they are, and they think they’re doing the right thing. Or, they’re not strong enough to put the boundaries in place, and they want you to be as miserable as they are! After all, misery loves company.

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if you decided to pick up where you left off with your mother — helping her as much as you can despite her behaviro — and one of your relatives decided to pull back, because you’ve stepped back in? Sometimes that happens!

    Anyway, you need to decide what you’d rather live with: your mother the way she is right now, or your family members’ harrassment. Which is worse? Which causes you more stress? Which, if you look back on it when you’re 80 years old, can you most easily live with? I can’t answer those questions for you…

    You might consider talking to a counselor for a session or two. Sometimes all we need is a sounding board, someone to help us see our situation objectively and clearly. A counselor can give you the tools and strategies you need to deal with either your difficult mother or your relatives.

    I hope this helps, and wish you all the best.


  171. James says:

    Hi ,

    Well – I have a mother who is totally out of control. She screams, yells, bitches, complains, moans, behaves to attract self pitty. If she doesn’t lilke something she will simply give my dad hell day and night. She is totally selfish and a year ago I decided to but a boundary in place and not having anything to do with her anymore. He mere prsence destroys how I feel about myself – she is an expert at “poor mumy” message and “no one loves me” etc. Well now that I have put this boundary by Father, brother and everyone my father knows are trying to manipulate me on talking to her again. I finall have peacein my life at 34 yrs of age and YET everyone is upset by the boundary I have put in place – WHY are they upset? Well because my mother is giving my Dad hell day and night about it!…. Unfortuantely my Dad’s eyesight are really bad and he is sutck with her and she will not shut the F**k up. My options are: Talk to my mother and in a way that just destroys me inside (I don’t know how – it just does) or put up with eveyones continual manipulation and harassement about it….

    yeah – I do need some insight into this .


  172. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Melanie,

    Your mom is a difficult woman, and she’s not going to change. She is who she is, and the sooner you accept her exactly as she is right now, the happier you’ll be. That means not just accepting but EXPECTING her to complain, criticize, and be stubborn. That’s who she’s been for decades, and who she’ll probably always be.

    I suggest you spent minimal amounts of time with her. Help her as much as you can, but don’t let her manipulate you out of guilt or a misplaced sense of responsibility. For instance, she may very well be lonely…but that’s not your problem to fix.

    And, it sounds like you’re buying into her criticisms! For example, you asked her what you need to do to save money, and she didn’t even respond. Instead of feeding into her questions and comments by responding to them, I encourage you to let them roll off you. Instead of engaging her ideas, try saying “Mm hm” and changing the subject.

    Don’t try reasoning with her — you already know it doesn’t work! Just let her express her ideas, and forget about them.

    I hope these ideas help, and wish you all the best with your mom.


  173. Melanie says:

    Hi there

    Hope you an give some advice; My Dad died about 2 yrs ago leaving my mother extremely well off. I have a sister who lives far away and unable to help in any praticable way, so I am the only one to look after my mom (she still lives in her own house. We were in financial difficulty and my mom lent us (ny family ) some money. Let me continue:

    My mother cannot drive, I take her shopping, do any other driving, going to the Chemist etc, sort out her affairs any problems, she comes to us every Sunday, we fetch her too, (and has done for all our married life – about 25 yrs), take her ro Dr’s appointments etc. Which I do because , well she is my mom and I love her. She can be verbally abusive, cannot understand if I say I do not have petrol money , or money for anything else, nothing I do is good enough, she complains about everyone. her cousin takes her out shopping , she moans about that. She complains she is lonly but when my cousins invite her out, she wont go and then phones me and complains that they have asked her out. Today she told me that we must control our spending. I am married, we have three children, tow in College and one at school, all the kids are still at home. We do not live extravently at all, we dont eat out etc, When I asked her what must I do to cut down, she just ignored me and said the weather was hot. When she accuses me of something I say why did you say that, she then either denies saying it or pretends she doesn’t hear. My father also used to say nothing he did was good enough either. I just can’t carry on like this. My sister will phone her an get an earful as well, eg Why haven’t you phoned me etc – well my mom can pick up the phone and phone her.. Its getting to a stage where I just dont wont to do anything for her. I can quite understand now why there are old folks in homes and their children dont visit them. You cannot reason with her at all. Thanks

  174. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Ashley,

    It sounds like you’ve been having very interesting experiences with these therapists…and your mother! There’s alot of history and emotions between you and your mom, which is difficult to unravel without talking about her to your counselor (like you said).

    I don’t think all therapists are the same, and I suggest you find one that you connect with. Finding a “good” counselor — someone you have chemistry with, that you understand and who understands you — can be a trial and error process. You might want to try a third counselor…and if he or she tells you something similar to what you’ve already been hearing, then there might be something there!

    Perhaps the reason the counselors don’t encourage clients to talk about their family members is because the counselor wants the client to focus on her own self, her own behaviors, her own reactions and responses. After all, that’s the only thing we can control. We can’t change or control other people, so why spend alot of time talking about them?

    I wish you all the best in finding a counselor that you connect with.


  175. Ashley says:

    I am also at a loss and have been trying to figure out what to do with my difficult parents. I just came from a therapist’s office- which I just would like to know how others would have handled this therapy session!

    Things in my family got bad when my boyfriend and I broke up several months ago. First, my parents definitely caused problems in my relationships. If I ask to hang out with them, they are busy, if I am busy in a job or relationship, they expect me to drop that and be with them. (Of course, they manipulate it in a different way.) My brother and his girlfriend also broke up- and that’s when my parents seemed to get upset. I think that they were so excited to plan weddings and have more grandkids- that these breakups meant that they would have to be parents again and be around for holidays because we don’t have significant others.

    Anyway, as soon as my boyfriend and I broke up, my mother IMMEDIATELY started bad mouthing me to my sister and her husband about how difficult I am and how depressed I was. (I was going through a breakup!)

    I do not get along with my sister (because she bad mouths me and lies) and my brother- well I believe he was emotionally and possibly physically abusive to her and she finally left. All of the same things I deal with (if I need help with bills, I get criticized, if I work when they want to get together I get criticized, etc.) I think that my brother’s girlfriend- got treated in the same way I did. (The reason that they broke up to others: she didn’t talk to her Dad which was weird (he abandoned her), she started drinking again (she was in AA and my brother drank in front of her), she didn’t make enough money (my brother told her to move for him and quit her job and he would support her and then she couldn’t find another job)- and that she wasn’t happy enough for him (she moved for him and he wouldn’t get engaged to her!)

    -I only say the above to explain my situation. With me, I have struggled to support myself and I am told (even in the WORST economy) that since I have a good degree, this shouldn’t be a problem (everyone else in my family works in the family business, but I was not offered that option or they are stay at home Moms)- when I don’t have a boyfriend- it must be about my “difficult” behavior, etc. etc.

    The therapist I went to three times- the first my mother and I established ground rules- about lying, promises, etc. The third session, it was apparent that my mother had lied already in the first two sessions! I had to bring proof because when confronted my mother always lies and says “I don’t remember”. The therapist wouldn’t let me read my proof and told me that from now on I was to “trust her and she was here to fix our relationship” (No my mother wasn’t, she was there because I told her I wouldn’t talk to her without a third party!!!) Again, if she LIED even in the sessions to therapist, shouldn’t she have called her out? Instead, I was told to “promise” that I wouldn’t talk behind her back (I hadn’t! This wasn’t my issue!) and I am just SO frusterated!!!

    Are all therapists like this? I went to another with my family that told me she had to talk to each of us separetely and that we couldn’t talk about anyone without them present. So, what again was the point???

    I have just so had it! If my mother lies to the therapist (and I brought in proof and the therapist says not to show that, how can I trust that my mother will admit to anything?) My mother is never sorry- she is only sorry when she is caught and there is consequences.

  176. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Laura,

    It sounds like it’s been quite the ordeal with your mom! Unfortunately, I don’t think think there’s anything you can do to change how she feels about you living where you are now. You can’t change her mind or how she’s coping with your absence.

    However, you can change how you respond to her. I suggest calling her once a week, and not engaging in arguments about your life choices when you talk. So, when she starts to berate you, you could change the subject or directly ask her to talk about something else. After all, how often can you have the same argument?

    I recommend getting a book on dealing with difficult people, and learning how to deflect certain conversations and conflicts. Setting healthy boundaries is another great topic to learn about — because she’s definitely not respecting your boundaries or choices. You need to draw the line in the sand with your mother; it’s difficult and time-consuming, but it’ll be worth it in the long run. Read about boundaries, take workshops or classes about setting healthy boundaries with difficult people, and consider talking to a family counselor about the best way to handle your mom.

    Remember, you can’t change her or convince her that you’re doing the right thing with your life…you can only make choices, and teach people how to treat you.

    I hope this gives you a starting point, and that you find the strength and courage you need to deal with your difficult mother!


  177. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:


    If you’re committed to marrying your fiancee, then yes — you need to put her feelings first. You can’t force your parents to get along with her, so you must make difficult choices! That may mean cutting off ties with your parents, which I mentioned before.

    You need to do what feels right for YOU and your future. You have to listen to your heart and trust your gut…and make your decision based on what YOU think is the right thing. That’s part of being a man, my friend.

    Your parents may come around in time…but in the meantime, you need to do what you think is right, and be prepared to cope with unhappy people (because you can’t make everyone happy all the time).


  178. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Amelia,

    Your father sounds like an extremely difficult parent to live with!

    I encourage you to make a plan for getting a job and moving out of your parents’ home. Don’t just say “I want to get a job” — instead, figure out the specific steps that will help you land a job. Be prepared to work at a fast food restaurant, taco stand, or toll booth for as long as it takes to find work that you really want to do. Get a minimum wage paying job and find roommates, until you’re ready to live on your own with a better job.

    Another option is to move in with relatives until you land a good job. Maybe you have an aunt, cousins, or grandparents that you could stay with for a few weeks?

    I think it’s important to realize that you can’t change your dad’s behavior towards you, but you can change how you respond to it. If you have to keep living with him, then you need to learn how NOT to let his criticisms affect you. Also, stay away from him as much as possible!

    There isn’t any magic solution to getting along with difficult parents, and every situation is different. But, you need to remember that you DO have the power to change your circumstances…you just need to take specific steps to access that power.

    I wish you all the best in your job and new home search, and hope you find something quickly!


  179. Laura says:

    I am at loss of idea and am about to give up! I need help! I am originally from Europe and 17 years ago moved to the US and eventually got married and started a family. My mother has never forgiven me for leaving my country and untimely leaving her. It has become even more difficult sine I now have a child and I am also taking her grand-child and the “joy of grand-parenthood” from her as well. For the past 17 years, my mother and father have visited me dozens of times, and I try to go back to visit at least once a year too, I call every Saturday and Sunday for over an hour, send pictures, do the web cam thing… yet it is never enough! And more often than not she cries over the phone, sends nasty emails pointing out the pictures I should have taken and sent because this is what I owe her, that my child should email her more often, that she doesn’t want to talk to her on the phone as long as she wishes she would… needless to say, I have ran out of excuses and apologies, and I am losing interest in calling, emailing… since there is no conversation but just reproaches. I am almost 40 and yet on a weekly bases I am being talked to like a little girl! I can no longer take it! It is creating problem with my husband as well who does not appreciate the result of my weekly phone conversation with my mom!
    I do not know what to do! I feel like I have tried, but nothing is ever enough. What she wants is for me to go back to my country and live next to her… she does not understand that it is not an option, that my life is here and has been here for a long time.
    In my heart I know that it is difficult for her and I have tried my best over the years to compensate… but as she is getting older it is getting more and more difficult. I know I cannot just stop to call, but I cannot continue to listen to her constant crying about decisions I took a long time ago and that I do not regret!
    Please help me, I do not know what to do!! Thanks.

  180. Matthew says:

    Hi Laurie

    Thanks for your advice, the part that I can’t do at the moment is to convince them to have dinner with my fiancee, my mum (and my dad) completely shut her off. As I said, it is very difficult if they dont want to even mention her name. Even if they agree to have dinner they will give my fiancee a hard time. Also, my fiancee is an introvert and she is very quiet but of course, she has a very big heart and no matter how difficult things are, she lets her action do the talking rather then commenting on things.

    Do you think it is correct if I put my fiancee feeling first and protect her from all the harms coming from my parents?

    On the other hand, I am trying to spend sometime with my parents while I am off work to mend the damage relations, I dont know whether doing this is correct either

  181. Amelia says:

    I need some advice about my father. I am 24 years old and due to my inability to get a job I have to live with my parents. Me and my dad have never got along. He bullied my my entire childhood. I can’t tell my mom because it just upsets her. My dad is carrying on the SAME bullying behavior that he had when I was a little kid. Spitting on me, screaming in my face and freaking out about tiny things. (where is the lime green coffee mug…um…i don’t know???) He makes me scrub the floors while he stands over me eating chips and berating me. I don’t know what to do. I want to get away from him but I can’t until I have a job. I am starting to feel desperate.

    I hate him. I hate to hate him because it means hating myself. I am getting very depressed.

  182. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Cara,

    That’s very sad that your parents haven’t accepted your husband after all this time, all these ups and downs.

    Regarding inviting them to birthday celebrations or holidays, I suggest you put your husband’s feelings first. Your marriage is your primary concern — it’s your first priority. Your relationship with your parents is important (and of course we’d rather have close loving parents, not difficult ones!), but it is secondary to husbands and children.

    I’d try not to cut your parents out of your life totally — especially if they have a good relationship with your daughter. But, I wouldn’t arrange to have your husband and your parents together at the same time. What’s the point of doing that? It’s not likely that your parents will magically accept your husband.

    Organize weekend lunches with your parents and grandaughter, perhaps at neutral spot. For instance, go for a picnic in the summertime or meet at an inexpensive restaurant in winter. If your daughter has recitals or rehearsals, invite your parents to that (if your husband isn’t there). Do what you can to faciliate the granddaughter-grandparent relationship, and let your husband off “center stage” for awhile!

    Again, I encourage you to put your husband’s needs and wishes first.


  183. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Matthew,

    I’m sorry to hear that your parents are so opposed to your fiancee! That’s a sad situation — definitely a difficult one.

    It sounds like you want the best of both worlds: you want your parents to love and accept your girlfriend, and you don’t want to be estranged from them or cut off from the entire family. It also sounds like you’ve done the best you can in terms of reasoning with your parents, talking to them, explaining your perspective to them, and encouraging them to connect with your fiancee.

    Unfortunately, if they’re not willing to accept her, then there’s not much else you can do. At this point, it doesn’t sound like you can’t say anything that will change their minds. The way I see it, you have two options: 1) ask if they’d be willing to see a family counselor with you, to communicate and work out the underlying issues with an objective third party; and then perhaps 2) let them go and accept that you’ll be estranged from your family if you choose to marry your girlfriend.

    If you have to cut ties with your parents, remember that it may be temporary. Of course, “temporary” is a relative term: it could mean six months or six years. But, if you can’t convince them to accept the way you’re living your life, then you have no choice but to let them go (or break up with your girlfriend, of course).

    I’m sorry you’re in this situation. Even if your parents don’t agree to see a family counselor, you might want to see one on your own, to help you sort out how to proceed.

    Wishing you all the best,

  184. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Rene Christy,

    Wow — that’s a very traumatic Christmas for you all! It’s very sad that your mother isn’t acknowledging the problem. In essence, she’s choosing her boyfriend over you and her grandchildren…and that’s heartbreaking. For some reason, she’s not seeing clearly…and there’s not much you can do about that.

    I think you should proceed with the charges against him, and let your mother go. Keep the door open for when she wants to re-establish contact with you — because she will. This relationship can’t last, and she’ll miss you and her grandchildren too much to stay estranged.

    Perhaps you could send her a note or card occasionally, letting her know that you’re open to reconnecting after he’s out of her life.

    I also suggest talking to a counselor about how to talk to your kids about both the assault and the estrangement from their grandmother. Perhaps there’s a counselor at their school? Another option is to read a few books on dealing with difficult parents or related topics — because it’s important to resolve this in your kids’ minds as much as possible.

    I’m sorry that this happened, and wish you all the best.


  185. Cara says:

    Wow! I have been doing a lot of research tonight on this subject of hateful in-laws, and I am floored by what I have found!

    I am the wife of a hated son-in-law, daughter of the haters. Sparing the actual details of the falling-out, my dilemma concerns loyalty to my husband and maintaining some level of contact/relationship with my parents (Mom in particular), not just for me but our 4 year old daughter as well.

    A little history might be helpful; my Dad did disown me 13 years ago when my husband and I moved in together before we married. Dad claimed religion (pride and ego were also involved). After we married, all was forgiven and my husband has bent over backwards to be an active member of the family, helping my Dad with home improvement projects, etc.

    My husband and I have had some problems in the last 3-4 years, primarily money, and I have in extreme moments of weakness let some of it out to my parents. We are doing better now, but my Mom has recently sent an email blasting my husband and saying how much she hates him. My Mom also suffers from a level of dementia (her mom did too). My husband, though, says he’s done with them.

    My birthday is next month (Feb), our daughter’s is in May, then there’s the holidays……What kind of boundaries can be set, do I invite them to anything? I have no clue! Thank you in advance for caring to read and respond.

  186. Matthew says:

    ‘Impossible’ mother and ‘difficult’ father

    I am the eldest son of the family and have two, I would say, difficult mum and dad. Both of them have develop mood problems and they are pointing their anger and resentment onto my girlfriend / fiancee, who they have grudged against me for almost 3 years and it does not seem to end in peace. I have tried to explain, discuss, reason with them about the situation and that I am a grown up person and can make my own decisions. However, they are forcing a decision which, I have explained, that is impossible for a human to make when they ask me to choose between parents and my fiancee, I mean if I get married, they will kick me out, shut me off from the entire family. I know deep in my heart such move is impossible and I have explained countless times to my parents that ‘look, I did not want this to happen but you guys are forcing it to become this way’.


    I come from a above average family, the 4 of us. 4 of us were involved in our family business, however, due to conflict on both a business and personal level, after 5 years in the business, I have made a decision to leave.

    My mother is very protetctive and she does not trust anybody she comes across and does not like letting things go. She always worry about someone will ‘take something /money away’ from her. She is a tough business women and decision maker so there is no middle ground with her. She likes to assume and set people’s life and likes to ensure she is in control all the time. Hence, control freak. She cannot accept both my sister and myself are now grown ups and have a mind of our own

    My farther have mood problems, he goes into a frenzy and does not like to listen to others same problem as above, he likes t talk about money but with dad, there is some compromising point but he cannot accept other people saying a ‘NO’ to him and is very stubborn. Hence, I would say at times it is pointless to give advise because he has already made a decision but is just asking us to get some sort of approval

    My sister is the best sister in the world! For she is right in the middle and does not take sides, we kinda help each other to set things logically when either one or both of them go into a frenzy but I feel both of us cannot continue to live like this as she too, will feel the heat sooner or later

    Myself, I have being living in AUST for 13 years, with my guardian since I was 9 years of age up until I am 18 and finish up my boarding school years. Since then, I have lived by myself in college and at home during university years. I am now back in HK living in a unit with my sister. I am not a family type person and I like independence and is not a person to hang around my family all the time, especially my mum, everytime I am around her, there is some sort of pressure and I feel unnatural and uneasy.

    Both of us are in relationship. My sister boyfriend now works in the family business, while my girlfriend, who used to be a staff in the business 4 years ago, is now working in a garment company. both my parents still says that they treat my sis bf as one of the friends only. they treat my gf as someone rubbish and a nobody. They dont even want to say her name


    1. What should I do more as an individual
    A:) I have already tried to reason with them in a discussion

    B:) Both my gf / fiancee have being constantly attacked over the last 3 years either with threats and nasty messages.The last being when my fiancee was in hospital for an operation

    C:)My approval addiction over the years with my mum and living under her umbrella have dented my confidence in decision making, over the last 5 years it has become better but still lacking. Because of the over protection in work and life, I am constantly working to keep things seperate and logical and is starting to take a toll. I have accepted fact that life should not be easy and it gives me great satisfaction when I have achieved somthing for myself out of my own effort without their help (university achievements)

    D:) I feel that both of them needs to see a shrink but because of their pride, it is hard for me to tell them they have a problem. Plus, the extended family also have major problems which my mum and dad are involved in the frenzy as well, causing them to be even more depressed

    E:) I feel that I am begin to find their action and love becoming more of a pressure and is very opressing, time and time again I have expressed this situation to them but they keep on pressing

    I guess I made the right decison to leave work and part ways but I am looking for ways to mend the relationship

    For my fiancee, I just dont know what to do because they are giving me the refuse to see her or talk to her and they have said that they will take her down the grave. They dont like her because she was an employee at the company whom I hve met and now dated, she is 4 years older then me, well…basically when u dont like someone, u can pin point things

    I am lost and some advise will be appreciated

  187. rene christy says:

    Your article has some great points. My problem is different than anyone mentioned. My widowed mother has lived with an alcoholic boyfriend for three years. He has never been violent, although he is rude and offensive. My mother insists on Christmas dinner at her house if we want to see her. So my four kids and I went. Before dinner was served this “boyfriend” attached my 15 year old son by pushing him backwards on the couch, climbing on top of him and strangling him. My other kids and I pulled him off and got out of there as fast as we could. I contacted the police and all they could charge him with was assult and battery. My mother is still living with this man. Telling me he did not mean it and that he does not know what came over him. I feel completely betrayed, after all this is my mom, and my son’s grandmother. To me she deserted us for this man. My mother told me that she does not want to get involved and will not testify in court. I have cut off all ties with her, but still love her. I was raised in a upper middle class family where violence was never an issue. My kids and I are still in shock over the whole incident. Any advise would be so appreciated…

  188. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Mirai,

    I’m sorry to hear about your mother — she does sound like a handful!

    While I can’t dissect all the intricacies of your compicated relationship, I do have a few suggestions:

    1) Talk to a counselor. I don’t think cutting off a relationship or legally disowning a parent isn’t as easy as it sounds, and there will be emotional consequences for you and your son. I suggest you find a good family therapist, and get the support you need to figure out the best course of action.

    2) Keep your relationship as smooth as possible while your son is in her care. This means accepting her for who she is and what she’s done, without trying to change her. Keeping things smooth may mean biting your tongue and not expressing how you really feel.

    3) Don’t bring up the past with her. She doesn’t see things the same way you do, and there’s no point in rehashing what happened. If you and she went to a family counselor together, then yes — talk about and resolve the past! But if it’s just the two of you, and you KNOW your discussions dissolve into arguments and toxicity, then don’t even go there. Stay focused on the present, and your future with your son.

    I really think my first suggestion is most important: get counseling to deal with your issues. Maybe you want to involve her in the counseling process after you’ve figured things out with your counselor……or maybe you’ll won’t include your mom. Really, that’s secondary to you becoming as emotionally and spiritually healthy as possible. And, you may need the objectivity and education of a therapist to do that.

    I wish you all the best as you resolve your relationship with your difficult mother! Focus on achieving your goals and giving your son the best life possible — and pat yourself on the back for all you’ve done, and how far you’ve come. You’re a survivor!


  189. Mirai says:

    Oh hello and Hope everyone New Year is going to be happy and blessed!! I had make a separate post from my “dissertation”, I had left. Sorry.

  190. Mirai says:

    **Disclaimer-Its a long, so please bear with me.**

    well, I am in dilenma………I am on the verge of legally disowning my mother. I am a 28 yr old divorcee, who currently has a good relationship with my ex-husband (who is also the father of my child)

    Here is the current situation:

    She is placed as the caretaker of my son (a decision made by myself and his father, that we sat down and talk to her about.)We try to give her as much support as we can. We are going to have him back with us by this August. We are grateful for her help but its hard to show her appreciation for that when she rewards me with drama. We had just gotten in a huge fight, not even 2 hours from me posting this comment.I don’t know how to deal with her anymore ! I have tried throughout the years to forgive her, but she a very difficult person to deal with and live with (ask my aunt, an old boyfriend of hers, some ex’s, and another cousin about it).

    Rough beginings:
    *)I was told by relatives that my mother had several abortions before she had me, when I was 8. I was later told by my father, last year, that the reason she kept me was that he wanted me and that he had to put $20,000 on the table (while she was pregnant with me), in front of her; in order to convince her that he seriously wanted me. So she carried me to full term. But I found out also last year that she aborted, what would have been my baby brother by 3 yrs age difference, with Geritol pills. Through a heated arguement last year, she admitted to 2 of the abortions.
    *)My mother was emotionally and physically abusive to me from when I was at a very young age. When asked about it, she denies it to this day !
    My first bout of physical abuse was when I was 6 and what happened was I politely asked her(in front of her company) that the phone call she was waiting for was on the line. She told me to take a message and I did that. Then after her company leaves, she yells at me for interrupting her and her company and didn’t care that I asked politely. So, she proceeds to drag me by my hair to her room and takes a pair of scissors and cuts my hair up. A few minutes later, my aunt (her twin) comes to visit and saw what she had done and went off on her. They commenced to argue and she was told to “get the **** out”!! That didnt stop there and continued until I was able to leave the house at 18.
    *)Another incident I vividly remembered in my junior year in High School, I told her that I didn’t want to take another year of ROTC (something she forced me to do). I was punished and kicked out of the house, nobody would take me in, and I had to agree to take ROTC again to be let back in.

    Other factors that had affect on the relationship:
    *)She had an on-and-off relationship with a man she’s dealt with and still dealing with for almost 20yrs. The on-and-off thing caused me to move at least 5-6 times and 3 of those times, in the same house that she use to co-own with this same man. I was a 7th grader when she told me that she would choose her boyfriend over me. I’ll never forget that.
    *)But for my father, he was around until I was 3. They now blame each other for the whole breakdown. I tried to have a relationship with him, but I had to cut myself off with him recently because he thought that being physically…i.e assault with a weapon, while I am an adult, would give him respect and authority from me.

    What she is like:
    *)She can be a good person, but she has alot of issues. She was always strict, she worried about other people’s opinions about her, she likes to dress nice, and she loves all the nice things (she lives beyond her means, even still to this day and is on her 2nd Bankruptcy). She is no stanger to letting people know what’s on her mind and has no problem gossiping about them. I would get different sniding comments (even Now as an adult) when I was young like “I wish you was dainty like the other girls!” I was a tomboy and she couldn’t handle that.
    *)My mother has put on a “I am a wonderful person” persona for so long that she believes it. The community (people we know) stands by her and she made everyone believe that I am the monster. The people who has seen through it, wants nothing to do with her. It is the reason why, my own family members do not talk to me. The ones who know her true nature and cannot deal with her, no longer maintain contact with the family. The other family members, refused to report her because of either who she is intimidated them in some way, they didn’t want to get involved, or they would need a favor from her in the future. The abuse and its dealings has happened in front of relatives and a few friends.
    *)So many things and tradegies (like my cousin (her twin’s son) died shielding her from a gunman; who was arguing with my cousin’s friend and my cousin wasn’t even involved in the situation!) attributed to the barely non-existent and broken relationship that we have with each other. Don’t get me wrong she gave me what I needed, but she was emotionally absent.

    *)As a child, who was brought up by a semi-devout Muslim mother (she is now a “born” again Christian of 4 yrs); I have always tried to never get in trouble and do good in school. I did those things because I did not want to trigger my mother’s anger. When I present my good grades to her, she non-chalantly congratuates me. But If my grades dropped slightly, I would be chided, with no second thoughts and threated to be pushed back a grade (retention). I know that children get scared over monsters being under the bed or in the closet. But as a child, I never thought I could actually be living with one.
    *)Now as an adult,the military is what saved me from continual dependence of her passed age 18. I couldn’t go to college, using financial aid because she didn’t pay her taxes for a few years! But what I don’t understand is she had no break in employment over 20 years at that time, so why she can’t pay her taxes??!
    I go through the Trials and Tribulations of life, while trying to help take care of my son. Six years in the miltary is not going to stop me from getting my degree. I do intend to get my degree, even while my son is in tow ! My goal is to give a better life to my son, to where he knows his parents love him, no matter what !
    From Earlier:….
    Remember that fight I mentioned, early on……….it was over something little. Now, I was there visiting my son for the holidays, since his father couldn’t make it (stuck in CT). I was not there to push her buttons nor aggravate her. I was trying keep it peaceful and spend time with my son. Arguement starts, words are exchanged from B**** to you’re a sorry a** mother. But this happens everytime we argue, She calls the police on me even though no one was assaulted or property was damaged. I did get thrown in jail from one of those arguements.Oh yes, the police did get called and they came, tonight.

    My wish was that our differences didn’t affect the relationship that she has with her grandson. But I cannot have her continue to behave like that towards me and around my son. I tried talking to her, but it falls on deaf ears and I am told the one that needs help. I tried mediation, but she won’t agree to it because she doesn’t feel like that she has to go. I tried cutting communication off for a little bit, but she has a way of getting my phone number. When she calls, she comes crying to me or my ex-husband about she has the right to see her grandson and she wants to see him.

    I don’t know what to do and my last resort is legal disownment. Please help me!!!!!

  191. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Wow, Denise, thank you so much for your comments and insights! Your mom taught you alot of great stuff…and she also gave you a strong sense of self-respect and self-worth. Isn’t it ironic that someone who was so influential isn’t someone you want in your daily life? Funny how life unfolds sometimes.

    It’s amazing that you can see the positive qualities she instilled in you, and simultaneously see how toxic or unhealthy her presence is in your life — and your children’s life. I admire your ability to give her credit where credit is due, and still be able to set and maintain your own boundaries.

    I wish you the same as you wished us: Godspeed, and a future filled with love and happiness!


  192. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Angela,

    It’s so kind of you to open your house to your mom, especially given your challenging relationship!

    One thought that occurred to me is that you might want to go into this new living arrangement with NO expectations that your mother will change. That is, you can expect her to be just as negative, critical, and difficult to please as she’s always been. That might help you live more happily and peacefully with her…just accepting that she will always be the way she is now.

    I think the trial visits are a great idea, and also encourage you both to have an appealing Plan B for her. That way, she won’t be trying really hard to make things work out, and your trial living arrangement will be more realistic and authentic. If she has an appealing alternative, perhaps both she and you will be more “yourselves” during the visits.

    It may also take a few months to settle in, if she does stay for good. As with any roommate, it takes time to develop a routine and figure out what your roles are….in fact, it might be helpful to think of yourselves as roommates, not mother and daughter! Split up the chores, set up a phone message board, ask her to pay rent, set up regular dinners together and dinners apart, etc. Perhaps the more you separate yourselves before she gets too comfy at your place, the better your living together will go.

    I wish you all the best, and hope you return to let me know how things are going!


  193. Denise says:

    I had to break up with my parents. It was the hardest thing that I’ve ever done but in the end has been the best decision I ever made. As I read through the above posts, I can SO relate to so many of the scenarios and it serves as a reminder that I made the best decision for me.

    The straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back was my mother going after my child. It was one thing when she went after me. I could take it, but when she boldly did to my daughter what she had been doing to me for 40 years mama bear kicked in because nobody is going to treat my child that way. NOBODY.

    Since this event, my children have shared various memories of things that grandma did to them that were unkind and hurtful that I was not aware of at the time that they were happening (my parents frequently invited my kids to visit without my husband and I and we let our kids go because we thought they were safe and we needed the break). The worse and most destructive thing she did was the continuous criticism of me to my kids. She has cast herself as the long suffering wife and mother whose destined to sainthood because of all that she has suffered through and is very subtle in the way and means that she bad mouths people. In the end she comes off as the long suffering heroine.

    The sad thing is that after this happened I had to talk to my children about it. I made sure that I was absolutely truthful to them regarding what had happened while editing a lot of my personal feelings and details that I believe were inappropriate for them to hear at their ages. I continue to emphasize that I love my parents very much and want nothing more then to have them in my life but that because of choices my parents make it is not possible for me to be around them.

    I also try to share as many positive and wonderful memories that I have from my childhood. At first this really confused my kids but I explain to them that my parents crappy behavior doesn’t change the fact that I love them and had some really nice experiences growing up. I’ve also told my children that if my parents apologize and make sincere efforts to amend the situation that I’m open to having my parents in my life again.

    Pre break-up I was angry, depressed, and anxious ALL the time. I broke out in hives on a regular basis. Post break-up other then the normal ups and downs, I haven’t fallen into a depression once. I’m only anxious about normal things (going to the dentist, etc.), my anger has subsided, and miraculously I haven’t broken out in hives once since. I’m really happy for the first time in my life.

    I often joke (only with my husband) that my parents are my drug of choice and like a junkie there are certain triggers that make me crave a hit. It has been a few years and it is still sometimes really, really hard. I love my parents and like every child want them to be a central part of my life. I really miss them during the holidays and when various big personal events occur. But like all recovering addicts I KNOW that one hit could set me back.

    I was recently feeling out a questionnaire that asked, “Who is the most influential person in your life” My first response was my mother. This kind of surprised me but as a mulled it over for the next couple of days I realized that it was true. She taught me to stand up for myself and what I believe in even in the face of great adversity. She taught me to not allow anyone to abuse or mistreat me. She taught me that no relationship is worth my health, my wealth, or my sanity. She taught me that honesty and truthfulness (things she has no concept of) are more important then saying what you think the person wants to hear. She helped me find my backbone, my sense of self, my integrity and for all of that I am truly a better person then I was.

    I know how difficult it is to be in a relationship with a toxic person. There is no right answer, no path, no blueprint to tell any of us how to deal with this. The bottom line is any choice you make (to continue to work on the relationship, to step away, or to limit contact) comes with a high price tag. In the end each of us has to decide what is best for us at that time. We have to love ourselves and give ourselves permission to mess up and change our minds. I know it is counter intuitive because many of us in this situation have a strong sense of love, loyalty, and the sincere need to please our relations, but try to step back, analyze, and really do what is best for you. And remember you can’t change other people you can only change how you act and interact.

    I wish you each godspeed and a future filled with love and happiness.

  194. Angela says:

    Nice article. I wouldn’t refer to my mom as toxic but challenging-YES. She probably would write a whole book about me, if someone asked her to. The difference is, what I write is probably more accurate that what she would write. I know that sounds a little arrogant but I can say that because … I am a reflective person and I always analyze myself and my own actions, and I am always reflecting on how I can do better, be better and live better. My mother ONLY looks on the outside with the expectation that the OUTSIDE will change, thus, making her life better. And when the outside doesn’t change, she’s pissed, depressed and negative.

    I love my mother and I appreciate her. I am just having a hard time accepting her as the person she is today at 67 years old. I thought that I had accepted her and her ways, which err to the negative side of things. But I believe all I have done is “tolerated” them. That is why, I can be very quiet while my mother may be on one of her negative tyrades about the neighbors, me, other family members, my friends … whatever. She’s very critical and suspicious of people, which makes it hard for me because I am more of a people truster and believer. However, my mother believes what she beleives, and she believes that I SHOULD believe what she believes and if I don’t, then I am just against her. So even if I hold my opionion about things, she continues to speak negatively about people and situations until I crack. If I decide to offer my opinion, she continues to speak negatively and then challenges me -until I crack. If I give in and agree, then she talks even LONGER about this stuff over and over again – until I crack!.

    And when I crack, I am labeled the disrespectful child.

    My mother is 67 year old widow who now lives alone (I moved to a city three hours away three years ago). She doesn’t drive, is considered disabled (myriad of health complaints makes her unemployable)doesn’t attend church, doesn’t have any friends, doesn’t entertain any visitors at the house, watches TV and naps all day, and has many health problems including a bad knee and lower back pain which impairs her mobility. She pretty much stays in the house all day with very little contact with others, other than a few phone calls to Me, my brother and a couple of sisters and a niece who visits a few times a month.

    She has a memory that is mixed with accuracy and perception. She embellishes things alot, to prove her point about things and support what she beleives.

    I lived with her for 6 years before I moved away. I moved home at 28 years old, to live with her as she tackled Breast Cancer.My brother moved away to attend college. I lived with her and the first years were cool, because she had regular doctor visits, chemo sessions-basically, we had something to do three to four times a week. Those two years were cool but after chemo, her lifestyle went back to couch, tv, eating, waiting for me to come home from work and stay home with her. We started arguing because she was ALWAYS fussing about what I did do, what I didn’t do, criticizing my life, my actions and my associates, (I’m unmarried and no children and didn’t make a lot of money but had a decent job) talking about my hair, the way I look, dress, my friends, my car … everything .. she had something critical and negative to say. I could do NOTHING to satisfy her or at least that is what I felt. it got so bad that I moved out and then got a job in a neighboring state and moved there. I felt my life was slipping through my hands like sand. I was living at home, trying to be there for my mother and it seemed like a waste of time. She was unhappy and she didn’t even know what would make her happy so everthing I did was just a shot in the dark, and, something for her to criticize.

    Now I am in another state, living, just bought a house (big enough to house her) Why, because she doesn’t want to live alone anymore. And I love her, and it is getting really hard to see her live alone in the house, with little or no interaction. Suggested she move to this city, and move into a Senior Apartment but she didn’t want to do that because she didn’t want to pay rent, and she doesn’t want to be at home at night alone.

    So the option .. live with me. She’s not sure she really wants to do that but she’s lonely still. I want to accomodate my mother, I really do. I’ve talked to her about what it would be like living with me, and reminding her that I am an adult and not a little girl who needs to be reared. I will be 40 years old next year. I told her to think about it, and we will start by letting her come up with me and stay weeks at a time, to help her decide if this is something she wants to do. AND if this is someting that I can do.

    these trips have just started, as I have just bought my house a couple of months ago. When she comes, we get along farely well for a minute. Until I start interacting with my friends, start talking about postive things in life, start wanting to do stuff that I usually do, then I start getting the criticms, the suggestions. If I try to integrate her into my life, like inviting her to eat dinner with me and a friend who WANTS her join us, I get the “I don’t wanna go, I don’t know them.. you gonna leave me by myself and go .. who are they, they ain’t nobody.” So, I am left feeling that I should only interact with her with she’s with me and cut EVERYONE else off while she’s with me, or, ignore her and live my life as much as she can and integrate her into it as much as she allows. I often choose the latter.

    Now I am not a perfect daughter. I think some of my mistakes is that I had in my mind how I could help my ma, and that’s what I focused on. It may not have been what Ma wanted. I’m a little lazy, and I don’t like doing a lot of the physical stuff around Ma’s house. I will do some things, but not a lot. Sometimes, I used to get frustrated because when I started doing things, she would started telling me how to do it. I would shut down and just stop. But please understand that I do A LOT for my mom.

    But I am also frustrated because I want to help my mother but I don’t know if what I can offer her is help. It seems she mentally resists anything that is aimed at helping her. She doesn’t believe that is possible.

    Well, I guess that sums up how I feel. I really needed to type this. We were riding around today, and she was just talking so negative about any and everything. it was driving me up the wall and I was just about to nut up but I remained calm BUT IT MADE ME question if I really can make it.

    Well, feel free to break this down, offer insight . whatever. Im open!

  195. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Mishelle,

    I’m sorry to hear that your Christmas didn’t go as well as planned — and that your mom isn’t being straightforward or communicative with you!

    Perhaps you feel panicky and guilty when your mom is angry because she doesn’t talk to you like a mature adult. No offense to her, but most healthy adults are able to talk about their hurt or angry feelings without giving the silent treatment or avoiding family members. When she doesn’t communicate her feelings openly, you’re left to guess what’s on her mind and second guess your own actions, which leads to confusion, frustration, and pain.

    My first suggestion is to learn how to let people be mad at you, and learn how to live with feelings of anxiety without letting them overwhelm or paralyze you. These are general life skills that will benefit you enormously as you cope with your difficult mother! And, they’ll help you in all other aspects of your life: work, raising kids, relating to your husband, and even talking to store clerks.

    To learn those life skills, you could read books, attend workshops, take community learning classes, or talk to a counselor. Remember: letting people be mad at you and letting go of anxious feelings is a process that takes time — in fact, it can be a lifelong process!

    In the meantime, I suggest taking deep breaths and telling yourself that your mother is an adult who can and will approach you when she’s ready. Give her time and space to figure out why she’s upset and how to express it to you. It’ll take self-discipline to wait her out, but it may be the healthiest thing you can do for both her and you. Tell your dad you’d love to hear from your mom when she’s ready to talk about what bothered her so much at Christmas.

    I hope this helps, and I welcome your further thoughts and comments.


  196. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Alice,

    I’m so sorry your dad is behaving like this — not only is it sad to have such a difficult, selfish parent, it’s also embarrassing to include him in family gatherings!

    You need to establish your boundaries, my friend. NOBODY should treat you like that, not even your dad. That’s rude, unacceptable behavior and it needs to be stopped the second it starts.

    By “establishing your boundaries”, I mean being clear with your father about how he can treat and speak to you. You need to do this while it’s actually happening; it’ll feel awkward and even scary, but it’s a short-term pain for a long-term gain. For example, when he criticizes or humilates you, tell him that it’s not acceptable to talk to you like that — it’s verbal abuse, and you won’t tolerate it in your house.

    He probably won’t just suddenly start treating you better, which means you may have to take it a step further: tell him he’s not welcome at family gatherings if he can’t speak to you respectably and kindly.

    If you want to change how he treats you, you need to stand up to him. It takes courage to do this, and it won’t create change overnight, but you’ll respect yourself for trying. And, your husband and other loved ones will respect you, too.

    Another option is to limit how often you see him. Be honest with him: you feel humiliated, hurt, degraded, and angry when he criticizes you, and you don’t have room in your life for behavior like that. You respect yourself too much to let people treat you poorly.

    You CAN train him to treat you with respect, if you have the patience, time, and courage! Or, you can see him as little as possible. Either way, you’re limiting the toxicity that he sends your way — and that’s a very healthy thing to do.

    I wish you all the best, and hope this helps.


  197. Mishelle says:

    Hi. I am “new” here and not sure if my situation fits, but I am stuck and looking for some advice. I am an adult, married for 10-yrs. with two children. The advice I’m looking for is this: Why do I always feel so panicky/guilty/upset when my mother is mad at me for one thing or another? My husband and I always host Christmas at our house, and usually there is one or more ppl. at the end of the day who are mad/upset with another. This yr. I thought things were different and that we were able to sail through it without any hurt feelings,etc. Well, since Christmas, my mother has refused to talk with my by phone and refused to come over and pick up my kids for a planned activity they were doing today- my dad had to come pick them up. My dad relayed to my husband that my mother was furious with me due to the fact that I did not incorporate one of our family traditions into our Christmas day as well she thought that I snapped at her at one point when she was trying to help and wash the dishes. When I host anything at our house, my anxiety rises dramatically and I absolutely hate when ppl. crowd me or try to “help out” with stuff- insane, I know, but it really makes me crazy and I need to control my own space. Also, she was slighted because she thought my husband snapped at her about soemthing else during the course of the day. So now, I am feeling all tied up in knots because I can’t stand it when someone is mad at me and I’m not able to “fix it” right away. (my over-abundant anxiety at work again) So I am looking for some advice as to how to handle this situation. Usually my parents’ and I get along extremely well and they are super close to my children and have helped my husband and I out enormously with various things through the years. But now I find myself getting angry with her due to the fact that she is mad over something really (in my mind) silly and handling it childishly by not talking to me about it. Any advice? Thanks.

  198. Alice says:

    I am 29 yrs old and have been married for a year to my loving husband. My mother died 9 yrs ago of cancer, so me & my brother were left with our father, who has been an alcoholic, emotionally abusive and bitter person ever since.

    He didn’t manage to remarry because he was looking for a young beautiful woman (he was even dating women my age!!) and of course it never worked out, so all he managed to do was create debts.

    Anyway nowadays it is his favorite past time to try to humiliate me in front of my husbands family, or anyone watching for that matter. I invited him along with all my husband’s family for a big christmas lunch 3 days ago. All he could say was bitter comments about the food, how bad a cook I was, how I disrespected him by not taking a recipe from a book my mother used to have… utter nonsense! Everyone else either remained silent, or was kindly telling him that the food was indeed delicious, while he was pouring his venom. He didn’t hurt my feelings because it is exactly the kind of behaviour I have faced so many times in the past and I learnt not to take it personally. But I hate the fact he hurt my husband’s feelings and he disrespected my table and my guests.
    How can I tell him that it is not OK for him to spread his jealousy and bitterness all around our lives on these special occasions?
    The reason behind his jealousy is that his own house doesn’t have a woman to take care of it, so it is dirty and full of litter. I have promised him that we’ll clean it up together but then he’ll have to hire some professional help for everyday maintenance. But no! He is jealous that another man has his daughter and he couldn’t find a woman himself.

    Horrible thing to have parents who love themselves a lot more than they love you…

  199. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Amy,

    Maybe you do need to take a break from your parents for a few months, to regain your sense of self and get a good night’s sleep!

    Another option is to control when and for how long you talk to them. That is, don’t answer the phone at 11 pm — especially if you know it’s your parents calling. Call them when you’re ready to deal with them, when you feel strong and emotionally stable. Keep your phone calls short and sweet, and don’t get caught up in the emotional turmoil.

    Good luck with your job hunt — I hope you find the right position quickly!


  200. Amy says:

    I am 24 years old, and I have a really typical Asian parents. Ask everyone from my city, they will tell you their parents are difficult. My dad is really a difficult person. He called me and yelled at me everytime, saying I never listen, I am emotional. While, he is an ignorant and emotional b*****d himself.
    I told him so many times that I do not appreciate him throwing all the negative attitude at him, but old man, he never change. He just rang me at 11pm and yelling on the telephone saying that i never listen and I am emotional. Damn, that has affected my goodnight sleep. Because of his bad attitude, it is so difficult for me to be optimistic again(especially I need it for my job-hunting).
    Feels like shutting them out for good!

  201. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Jerel,

    I’m sorry to hear what your parents have been through, and very sorry about your father’s mother. It’s great that you seem to understand why your parents are difficult, and that you don’t blame them. Their childhoods made them who they are…and they didn’t cause their own bad childhoods!

    Thanks for being here; I’m glad to hear from you.


  202. Jerel Edmonds says:

    My parents are difficult. Can you blame a sexually abused and neglected girl who became a mother? Can you blame my father whose mother was murdered on MOTHERR’S DAY by his own father? I can see that they aren’t easy parents and I sort of overlook them, when I understand their childhood. It certainly wasn’t easy for me, I knew what I struggled with so I’m not making a comparison to others.

  203. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Kimberly,

    Thanks for sharing this piece of your life with us…I hope you’re doing well!

    Regarding your mom…I’m sorry she’s such a difficult person. Life and the world is difficult enough, without having parents who put us down or make life harder!

    I encourage you to do two things: 1) listen to your therapists, and get yourself as emotionally and physically healthy as possible before you tackle your relationship with your mom. You tried NOT cutting her out of your life, even though your therapist suggested you do cut her out. It seems reasonable to me to cut her out for six months or some predetermined amount of time, and focus on getting emotionally strong and balanced.

    2) Darn it! I forgot #2! Doesn’t that just make you nuts….I’m sorry, I really did forget.

    But, I stand by my #1 suggestion, which was definitely the more important one. It’ll take courage and strength to ask for a six month (or however long you and your therapist decide) break, but…it might give you the distance and time you need to deal with her as a difficult parent.

    I hope this helps, and encourage you to come back and let me know how things are going….

    Take care,

  204. Kimberly Smith says:

    I have never been able to talk to my Mom. She has always made me feel so small when I talk to her so I tend to just avoid it. A couple years back I went into therapy and they tired to set up a meeting with both my parents, me and the therapist so we would have a mediator (tired to do this twice). My therapist then told me I need to cut her out of my life because she was an emotional drain and I need to fix myself before I could work on my relationship with her. Well I didn’t cut her out and tried to just ignore all her faults. Well recently I moved out with my boyfriend and at first she was ok with it. She thought the house he got was cute and helped me move. She made the occasional snide comment that I just ignored but all in all it was good. Well when I moved back home (broke up with my last bf and had to move back in till I found a new place) my parents got me a cat. It was suppose to be a b-day gift and I wanted a cat. Well I nursed the thing back to health because it was a stray and got her all of her shot and got her an insurance plan. So when I moved out I took her with me. Well my mom was out of work for most of this and got attached to the cat which I really kind of wish she had not because she was making the cat a little hellion and going against all the the vet had told me to do for her food intake. Well I took the cat and she came over two days in a row to see the cat and I let her, then they ask me to babysit the cat for the weekend (I was not going anywere) and I said no. You would of thought I was telling her I was going to kill the thing. I was now the bad guy and I needed to give in. I was also only doing all this to get back at her for all the things she has done to me. All this for a cat, not a child. Well this went on for weeks and now they want to sit down and have a talk, alone. Like I said earlier I tired to have monitered discussions with them before and they refused but now they want me to come by myself to have this discussion. Basically they want no one there for me to lean on for support. Should I even justify this with a reponse or should I go?

  205. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I’m sorry, Jeremy, that your parents fight. You’re right; Christmas and the holiday season IS worse if your parents aren’t getting along. If you need tips for dealing with parents who fight at Christmas, just let me know. I’d be happy to write an article and post the link here.

  206. Jeremy says:

    Christmas is the worst time to have parents who fight.

  207. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Hi Amber,

    You hit the nail on the head when you said there are no boundaries with your mom! Setting boundaries without losing people we love can be tricky, especially when those people are dramatic and headstrong. But, it can be done.

    First, I suggest telling her what you said here. You love her, you don’t want to jeopardize her relationship with your kids, and she’s very special to you. Then, tell her how her behavior is affecting you — leading with your feelings. For example, I feel “______” when “______” happens because “______.” Try not to accuse or criticize her. Just try to be specific about the feelings that are created.

    Give her time to react — maybe she needs a few days to think about what you’re saying. She may be hurt enough to take a longer break, I don’t know, but the chances are good that she’ll return. It’s not likely that you’ll lose her completely; you’re her daughter and she loves you.

    Also, figure out what your boundaries are. People treat us the way we teach them to treat us. We accept behaviors, and those boundaries and behaviors get pushed, and we end up accepting those new boundaries….and the cycle can get out of control.

    Determine how you’d like your mom to treat you and your kids. This may not be possible to implement with her — for example, you obviously can’t force her to have feelings for Tanner than she doesn’t for Madi. But, you can decide what behaviors aren’t good for your kids and talk to your mom about those.

    My best suggestion for you — and this is helpful for all adult children dealing with difficult parents — is to ask an objective mediator to sit down with you when you talk to your mom. It doesn’t have to be a counselor (though they can be extremely helpful); it can be a pastor, objective and respected third party, or a friend of your mother’s who knows her well (and can be objective and honest). The idea is to get a balanced perspective, so you and your mom can see what’s really happening. Sometimes we get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions and past experience; we can’t see our relationships and behaviors clearly.

    Another thought is to move to a different place. This is a huge undertaking, I know, and it’s not easy. But, sometimes physical space solves problems that physical proximity creates! It’s just something to think about.

    I hope this helps, and I wish you all the best.


  208. Amber says:

    My problem is a bit different….My mom has been minipulative and controlling my whole life. At 32, married with 2 children, it has only gotten worse! My oldest, Madison;7, and my mom have a special bond, that I would never try to take away. I was close with my Grandma too. It can be good thing if there are boundaries. THERE ARE NO BOUNDARIES WITH MY MOM! My son, Tanner; 2, is not nearly as important to my mom as my daughter. I know she has had longer to bond with Madi, but she’s had nearly 2 years to create a relationship with her grandson. She refuses, always has an excuse to just want to take Madi somewhere or have her spend the night. (we live in a very small town, about 2 miles from each other) I have tried to instill “rules” to help both my Mom and Madi to except that Tanner is a part of all of our lives and we have to include him. It’s an adjustment but not impossible. Of course, there are always acceptions to the rules.. for instance, if it’s Madi’s birthday or a special occasion. But now my mom is playing “head games” with me because Madi is getting to go other places with out Tanner, like her dad’s family’s house for the weekend, (my children have different dads) or to deer camp with my Dad. I’m not ready for the baby to go to camp. And…this is the kicker, because my mother in-law watched the baby while Madi was in school, My Mom thinks this is punishing her. We can’t get a long. She does help me a lot. financially and she can be very supportive, but any time she “helps” me in any way, she finds a way to through it up in my face. She’s very dramatic about all of this and even went to my house, while I was gone, and had a “heart to heart” with my husband about this. I think she is crossing the line! But I don’t know what to do without loosing her completely and costing my kids a relationship with their Nana. My husband and I have other problems, with our jobs and everyday life, but my Mom thinks it’s all about her. I need some help. Anybody?

  209. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Yikes, I’m sorry about your mom’s ultimatum. That’s really sad.

    I suspect she’s testing you (as well as trying to protect you), and won’t be able to stay away from you forever! You might need to stop your “old” ways of asserting your adulthood — as you said, it’s not working.

    You might be able to have it all….but not right away! It’ll take time for your mom to realize that you’re serious about your boyfriend — maybe even months or years. I’m sorry, but trust doesn’t build right away. Right now, she doesn’t trust your boyfriend.

    Here are a few options:

    Accept her ultimatum. Tell her that you want her in your life and you’ll be heartbroken to lose her, but you have decided to marry this man. Of course you want her to be there and give her blessing to the marriage, but you can’t keep being torn in two like this. Let her go (I believe she won’t be gone for long; only a small minority of mothers can just cut off relationships with their kids).

    Meet her halfway. Can you compromise? Maybe instead of marrying right away, you can marry in a year from now. I don’t know how long you’ve been dating or what the serious problems with his dad are….but marriage is a HUGE commitment. It’s not all fun and games, and starting off with potential problems is a big fat risk (and not a good one).

    Go to family counseling. Ask her and your finance to spend an hour or so with a therapist, your pastor, or even a wise objective family member (who can be trusted not to “take sides”). An objective 3rd party will help you see if you’re rushing things or not seeing the potential problems — or if your mom is really just being a difficult parent.

    By the way — premarital counseling should be the precursor to all marriages! My husband and I did it, and it’s a great way to start off on the right foot.

    I wish you all the best…let me know how it goes!


  210. Wendy says:

    My problem is a bit different. I’m the child of such a parent and I’m not married yet. At this early stage, my mother has reached a ‘it’s me or him’ ultimatum. We’ve had serious problems with his dad, which leads her to believe that she is protecting me from a disastrous future by blocking this marriage. His father is also difficult, but my fiance knows how to handle him. I’ve tried to handle my mother, but asserting my adulthood, however, it seems that the problem escalates even more when I do that. I can’t cut my relationship with my mother. And, I’m also not breaking up with my fiance. So, is their a way for me to have it all? It seems that I’m still a child to my mother, and I don’t know how to deal with that.

    Thank you

  211. lynn says:

    Thank You Laurie,

    I realized that it was Dawn’s story, that I was refering to. And I thank You for your comment back to me. This seems to be an issue that continues through various families, and it would be a better world if parents allowed their childern to grow up to be productive adults, giving to the world, rather than taking all the time and not realizing that they are at a disadvantage. To reproduce more dysfunctional people in this world.

    One person set free at a time, Maybe there is some hope, as the release continues!!! lynn

  212. Laurie PK says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights and experience, Lynn. Boy, that must feel disconcerting and even scary to hear something like that from his sister! I’m glad your husband is choosing you over him.

    You know you’ve had enough when it finally boils down to a “them or me” choice. Sometimes the only solution for adult children of difficult parents (and the spouses of those adult kids!) is to cut off all contact….sad, but true.

    I wish you all the best with your husband, Lynn……and Dawn, I hope you’re doing well!


  213. lynn says:

    I just finished reading about Dawn’s situation, and I understand the pain and chaos this relationship causes.

    I am going through something simular, only the brothers have been brought onto it also, and my mother in law twists everything spoken to her, and has caused great concern with the whole family believing what she is saying.

    My husband and I have been married 7 yrs.this July 09, and it had actually begun at the beginning of our marriage. There were red flags, and alot of phone calls between Son & Mother, it was as though she were a Mistress, when I heard “I gotta go she is home”.

    What I was told by a Pastor’s wife was to consider moving to a location that was difficult for her to interfer.

    And as Laurie has said that, He has held on to the Mother, and played one woman against the other. I suggest honesty with your husband, to find out the value of your relationship, and does he really! want to remain married to you.

    I have over the course of 7 yrs. brought every detail of dysfunction between my husband and his family, and he is beginning to understand the seriousness, and the crippling effect it has had on past relationships. Least to say I am the second wife and he is 42yrs. His mother divorced the first one for him.

    This morning we had a call from his sister, that she is working on something big as I write, she said her plan is to get me out of the picture.

    My husband is ready to get out of “Dodge” and separate from his family for now, because I told him at this point it’s Them or Me, and I am prepared to go on without you. Let go and know that it is not healthy for either one of you to live this way.


  214. Laurie PK says:

    Dawn, I don’t know of any articles about overbearing mothers getting involved in marital issues offhand — and I haven’t had a chance to do a little digging around.

    Does your husband realize how destructive his mom is on your marriage? Some adult children defend their toxic or overparent parents to death without realizing how bad the problem is, while others know what’s happening but refuse to attempt to change it. They think they’re powerless.

    Knowing which “camp” your husband is in would help in knowing what kind of toxic parenting articles to show him.

    The other thing is: changing patterns of behavior in other people is extremely difficult! It’s hard enough to change ourselves when we want to change, much less others. So, it may take months or years for your husband to stand up to his mom….or maybe even a geographical move. Sometimes physical distance is the only way to deal with toxic or manipulative parents.

    At any rate — does your husband realize that his mom is overbearing, or does he defend her?


  215. Dawn says:

    My mother in law takes sides with my husband when we have arguments or disagreements. I feel my husband should not even talk to her about these things because he tells one sided stories to her. For example telling her what I did or said, but not telling her what he did or said first-not telling the whole situaition. He manipulates her into thinking that I’m the cause of his marriage no no’s. And she aets it right up and blames me for his actions. But never the less, she jumps in and attacks me to stick up for him by being rude to me when she walks in my house, leaving me articles on what she thinks is wrong with me, making excuses for things like him cheating on me, telling him that it’s OK for him to buy the $36,000 sports car that he wants, and we cannot afford-and of course he bought it because she said it was ok!(instead of saying that’s up to you and your wife!)and encouraging my husband to divorce me. And he tells me all this. She even told my husband that she wanted to be with just him and his brother on mother’s day and so that’s what she got. My son and I spent the day without my husband on mother’s day! He’s 35! And she acts as if he’s a child. And I want add that my parents are completely the oppisite to him. Even if I do tell them something that he did and they agree with me, they treat him the same as they treat me. They are always welcoming, respectful and helpful to him. I realize that much of this is my husband continuing to act like her child, but she supports him acting like this. It’s a very twisted overbearing crazy mother and inmature grown son relationship. I’m trying to find articles for my husband to read. Are there any about overbearing mother getting involved in marital issues? Or about asking mom for advice when your grown and married with a family of your own? Can someone help?

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