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Mother putting me down ALL THE TIME!


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Hi guys, I am a newcomer! I came to look for advice on this (rather odd) situation! I am 28, married with a beautiful son. Life is good for us, we have what we need and are all very happy.

My mother has been single for around 15 years, prior to that, she was with our father, and the relationship was never a committed, stable one. She raised her five children, and a few extras (foster children etc) along the way, so she has never had a "good" life all of her own I suppose, Well, I mean that she has been raising children for the last 30 or so years and has not had "me time" until now.


Now my Mum is living it up, partying every weekend (my siblings and I take it in turns of babysitting her foster children) and her whole attitude has changed!


My mother seems to be putting me down a lot lately, completely out of the blue, not in relation to any other remarks etc. I have always got a lot of attention from people as I use to model etc. but this has never mattered to me, or effected who I am as a person, but somehow lately, my mother is making me feel like I am completely self absorbed and treating me as though I think I am beautiful! I do take care of my appearance and like to look my best most of the time, but I am also a mother, I have my priorities right in life and I just can not understand where this is coming from! She is actually being rather cruel about my appearance and other things - for example, my sisters and neices and I play around with Singstar and have a lot of fun with it but none of us are about to rush of to audition for Idol, but my Mum treats me as though I am stuck up, just for having high scores, and I even overheard a convesation between her and a friend - her friend said "wow, Bella_Luna can really sing" and so my mum said "not really, and I wouldn't tell her, she would just get a big head"


My husband tells me not to be upset by my mum's change in attitude, but it hurts, for two reasons I suppose, firstly, she of all people know ME as a person, and that I am just not like that, and secondly, it hurts that my own mother could want to just slam me down ,at every opportunity she gets lately, I just don't get it, it feels more like school than a mother/daughter relationship!


I guess I wonder whether this stems from her own self esteem, having just stepped out from the rut of parenting and singledom and living again, it all fits, but how do I let my mum know she is hurting me, without being disrespectful to her?

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hi bella,


i started seeing a counselor due to my divorce about six months ago. i thought it would help me cope with the tough processing of divorcing.


but the surprising thing is that through our sessions, a lot of resentment i didn't even realize i had came up about my parents. it has been really helpful for me to express that to my counselor, get her advice, and then begin to walk through it for myself.


i have often wondered why i wasn't lucky enough to get the kind of mother you see on those Hallmark commercials.... the understanding and open mother you can tell anything to..... the kind that thinks you are the incredibly special and lets you know it all of the time. i didn't realize how much i feel cheated until recently.


i guess you could try to talk to your mother but it doesn't sound like she would be very receptive. she definitely sounds like she has some kind of resentment going on that is being focused on you.


maybe counseling would help you cope with this. i have a friend who had a very difficult mother and she finally just had to limit her contact in order to cope. she told her mom that any time she (the mom) put her down she would leave immediately. then she followed through with it, even though it was hard to walk out. she's had to do it often because her mom has become so selfish she just doesn't care to change. it's really a sad situation. i hope that doesn't happen for you.


i'm sorry you have to experience this kind of treatment.

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It makes sense that she's jealous. If she's out partying all the time, she's going to be more aware of how she looks and putting effort into making herself look good. Then she sees you and knows you're beautiful and is jealous.


I would start off trying to have a conversation about it. Use the "I feel" statements like, "Mom, when you make negative comments about me I feel rejected and hurt." If it doesn't work, I'd try the counseling or unfortunately limiting contact and letting her know why.


Mothers are people too. I have one of the hallmark mothers who always lets me know how much she loves me and how proud of me she is, but even she has moments where I don't appreciate things she says. When I broke up with my ex, she immediately started focusing on me meeting other people and said something about me not wanting to be alone forever. I let her know that I didn't appreciate that. And whenever she makes a comment about me meeting people, I remind her how it doesn't help to hear her say that.

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She is likely feeling guilty about "living it up" on weekends, leaving her foster kids at home - even though I doubt any of you are blaming her for it as she (as I'm sure she knows too) needs it after so many years of taking care of her kids - and might be thinking along the lines of having made a mistake taking in foster kids. She loves them very much (yes?) but at the same time because of her recent behaviour (that she now can't stop doing because the strain will otherwise be too great for her) she's thinking that thereforee she doesn't love her foster kids as much as she did you, and if that turns out to be true or just that the foster kids believe it to be true it could screw them up.


This could be why she acts the way she does - she's jealous of you as a mother, thinking you're a better one than she is.


She could, of course, also be jealous of you for your looks, youth, happy marriage etc. and she act out because she thinks you're in many ways better than her and need to put you down/badmouth you behind your back to feel better about herself - and this just makes it worse because you (I suppose?) wouldn't do that to her.


It's very possible she's not actually jealous at all either, but something else going on. She could simply be noticing how you've got everything going for you and don't want you to get a "big head" or take things for granted or whatever only to one day see that "it's a bad bad world out there", as she has noticed for herself. She doesn't want you to fail. People act in very strange ways when complicated feelings are involved, sometimes they themselves are unaware of it or thinks it's normal. I guess the only way to know for sure what's going through her mind, though, is to ask.


Now, how to approach her. I think it's a very good quality of yours not to want to be disrespectful towards her, even though she has disrespected you. I salute you for that I always think of these conversations as something out of a movie, so this is simply a suggestion of how it might go but you should obviously tailor it to suit you. Take her aside some day, into the other room or outside or anything to get some privacy, and tell her that you need to talk. Tell her that you don't think she realizes how it makes you feel when she treats you the way she's recently been doing, or badmouth you behind your back. When mentioning her badmouthing you to a friend she might make the connection and ask what the big deal is, to which you could respond with asking why she instead wasn't agreeing with her friend or at least pretending to agree rather than badmouth her. You can ask her why she's been acting this way, especially as she's the one who knows you best. You could also tell her straight out something like "OK, let's get this out in the open - what's your problem with me recently? Why are you acting towards me like I'm some stuck-up self-absorbed woman when you KNOW I'm not?". This might be more on the disrespectful side though, but if you can't weasel a good explanation out of her you might have to say something like that.



Best of luck!



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how do I let my mum know she is hurting me, without being disrespectful to her?


By spending less time with her.


Sometimes silence speaks louder than any words, it will also show her that you have a happy life with or without her in it. And it will give you some time to calm down so this doesn't explode into something you might regret later in life.

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Thank you all very much for your help. My mother has never been the "hallmark" mother of course, and I have over the last few years become aware (through others) that my kindness and willingness to please (my problem, not thiers!!) has allowed me to be taken for granted by my family over and over. I have learned to say no where I can (driving my carless siblings here there and everywhere all the time etc) but I am still struggling with knowing how to deal with "authority figures" without feeling like I am being disrespectful or worrying about hurting someone. I guess what I have learned through your replies is that while I am sitting here, so worried about protecting my mother from my not-so-nice feelings about her attitude changes and the way she is treating me, clearly she is not offering me that same regard, so what am I worried about breaking here? I am beginning to think at this point in time that all I would lose (if she did not respond well to me standing up for myself) would be someone who treats me badly anyway. There is so much truth to what all of you say and I thank you so very much for your advice. I hope that we can sort it out without things getting too awkward! Perhaps spending less time and not being so available to her, as well as some talking with someone about my own issues on the subject will go a long way!! Thanks again!

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