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Is My Mother Abusive?

From the U.S.: I’m in conflict with my mother, who has neglected me since a young age. She never respects my privacy and constantly condescends me, especially in front of other family members. She can resent someone yet keep in touch with them at the same time. She promises to provide yet her promises are on and off without reason. She treats me like a child and i never feel her support.

I was always look out for counselors of all types to keep me going but its hard because it can’t replace the gap that i feel. Most of my inner frustration and stress comes from her behaviour. I am a better person without her by my side. When I had a medical illness and put my head on her shoulder in front of her aging aunt, she pushed me away in frustration. Her aunt scolded her “why did you do that?”

It seems she is present but chooses to be distant. When I talk to her on a focused topic, she jumps around changing the subject and then puts her legs on top of the kitchen table—
she has an aggressive stance to her. She subtly looks for ways to control me and its painful to talk about it.

If you had to get water from a well and the bucket kept coming up empty, how many times would you continue to lower the bucket? Your mother has issues of her own that prevent her from giving you the love and support you are looking for. That’s very sad. I hope you know it has nothing to do with you. Since you are now in your thirties, you’ve “lowered your bucket” enough times to know that  her behavior probably isn’t going to change.

You say that you’ve looked for counselors. What you didn’t mention is whether you and a counselor have worked on the gap you feel in your heart when it comes to your mother. You need to find ways to come to peace with who she is and, most important, to find other women in your life who can give you such solid friendship you are no longer pained by your mother’s inability to provide it. I hope you will do that. You don’t have to continue longing for something your can’t have from your mother when it is available elsewhere.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

from Ask the Therapist

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