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Coping When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for Your Mom

“If it’s not one thing, it’s my mother!” What do you do when nothing is good enough for your mom? These tips for daughters will help you see your family differently. Your mother may not be able to accept you for who you are, but you can change how you see her. And that has the power to change everything.

“I have an extremely overbearing and sensitive mother,” says Marcy on How to Cope With Controlling Parents When You Live at Home. “She blows up at every single little thing! I would love to have a normal family but right now I am financially dependent on my parents and I can’t support myself to graduate. Nothing is ever good enough for my mom but I can’t leave. Help, I’m stuck!”

Whether you’re a teen daughter living at home or an adult child who feels criticized and imperfect every day, you know what it’s like to feel stuck. Mother-daughter relationships are complicated and emotional…especially when both mother and daughter are smart, in touch with their emotions, and alive to the wonder of this world.

These tips for coping when nothing is ever good enough for your mom are about you, not her. You can’t change your mother, and you may not be able to change where you live, how often you see her, and when she shows up in your life. But you can change how you respond to her…and that can really can change everything.

When Nothing is Good Enough for Your Mom

Here’s the rest of my reader Marcy’s comment:

“When I was young, my mother hit me and my brother when she thought we didn’t do things right,” says Marcy. “I still remember some of the reasons I got into trouble for not being perfect. Whenever I bring them up now she gets defensive and denies that she ever did such a thing.”

1. Avoid bringing up the past

When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for Your Mom
When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for My Mom

I’m a big fan of talking about relationships because it can be healing and healthy. However, mother-daughter relationships are complicated and emotional. Unless both you and your mom are willing to face both of your mistakes and actively trying to repair your relationship, there is no point talking about the past. In fact – unless you and she are in family counseling together – it can be harmful and destructive to talk about your mother’s mistreatment and problems.

If you decide to bring up the past, have a healthy reason for doing so. An unhealthy reason is to prove that she was wrong and you were right, that nothing was ever good enough for your mom, and that you were doing the best you could. Even if your mom agrees that you weren’t a good enough daughter and that she treated you unfairly, you aren’t really gaining anything by forcing her to admit something she’s not ready for.

2. If you do talk about the past, have healthy reasons

Talking about past memories, emotions and experiences can definitely bring mothers and daughters closer together! There is no doubt that talking about a relationship can be healing and healthy. The problem is when one person isn’t ready to talk about the past, or if there are unhealthy reasons for talking about the relationship, or if neither mother nor daughter are ready to face their mistakes.

The safest, healthiest time to bring up the past is when you’re with a family therapist or counselor. It can also be good to talk about the past when your mom is willing to see herself objectively – and even to admit that nothing you did was good enough. You also need to be willing to see your own behavior from your mother’s perspective, and be open to trying to understand what she was thinking and feeling.

Are you coping with problems with your in-laws? Read How to Deal With a Mother-in-Law Who Hates You.

3. Accept your mother for who she is

My mom is schizophrenic; I moved in and out of foster homes for most of my childhood. I spent most of my 20s resenting my parents (my dad wasn’t around) and envying people with “normal” parents. It took me a long time to accept my mother for who she is…but when I did, I saw everything differently. I realized that she was doing the best she could. Nothing was ever good enough for her own mother, which affected her mentally and emotionally. When I learned how many other problems my mom dealt with, I realized why she was the way she was.

How much do you know about your mom? Find out more about her personality, past, childhood, and life. The more you know about your mother, the more you’ll learn why nothing is ever good enough. You’ll feel compassion and empathy towards her…and that will change how you see her.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you allow your mom (or anyone) to abuse or mistreat you. It just means you stop trying to change her.

4. Accept yourself for who you are

If you can accept your mom for who she is, then you can accept yourself for who you are. Your mother may be a perfectionist who can’t accept you for who you are. Your mom may tell you that nothing you do is good enough. She may make you feel terrible about yourself.

That hurts, doesn’t it? Our moms are supposed to love and comfort us…it’s devastating when they hurt and destroy us. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and we wish we had different parents. We wish our moms were healthy and happy and good to us! But when our mothers can’t give us the acceptance, compassion and love we need, we have to find it somewhere else.

5. Think about what you wish your mom could give you

I wish my mom had taught me more about life. She wasn’t the “nothing is ever good enough” type of mom…she just neglected me. She wasn’t there for me; I had to learn everything on my own. I wish my mom had taught me wisdom, love, compassion, gentleness and kindness.

What do you wish your mom could give you? Maybe she doesn’t accept you for who you are. Nothing is good enough because your mother wants you to do better, be better, know more, be smarter. Maybe you just want to be loved for who you are and what you can do.

6. Be kind and gentle to yourself

When you don’t get the love and acceptance you yearn for from your mother, you may look for it in other people. Some teen girls and adult daughters look for love and acceptance in men; the more men they attract, the more loved they feel. The problem is that this type of love doesn’t last. It’s unhealthy and destructive.

How can you be kind and gentle to yourself in healthy ways? One of the nicest, kindest, most loving things I ever did for myself was learning how to stop criticizing myself. I used to hate myself, call myself names, and say I wasn’t good enough. It was awful, the way I talked to myself.

Your mom may say nothing is ever good enough for her, and you can’t control what she says to you. But you can control what you think. You have the power to choose to replace those “I’m not good enough” thoughts with healthier ones.

7. Learn how to feel good enough – no matter what your mom says

No parent can give you everything you need. And, your problems with your mother will keep getting worse if you keep falling back into the same old family patterns and arguments. The good news is that you don’t have to live in emotional turmoil or pain for the rest of your life! You can heal and move forward. You can choose healthier, happier ways to cope with a mom who doesn’t love you for who you are.

not good enough for mother

It helped me to read Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers by Dr. Karyl McBride. Learning why some moms never think their daughters are good enough can help you see your own mom more objectively. This will help you overcome a difficult mother-daughter relationship, and not let your mom affect you so much.

Do you struggle with low self-esteem, insecurity, and lack of confidence? If so, you’re normal! When you grow up thinking nothing is every good enough for your mom, you won’t feel good about yourself. Read How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough.

What have I missed? Your comments are welcome below! Feel free to write about yourself, your mother, and your family. Writing can help clear away the cobwebs and help you see life more clearly.


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64 thoughts on “Coping When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for Your Mom”

  1. I came to this page after an argument with my mum. It’s comforting to know that I’m not alone, and that mums can be wrong, after all. I am in a nuclear family of just me, my mum and my brother. My relationship with my mum is so complex because there’s both the good and bad, and from young I kept justifying the bad because of the good. We share a close bond, reflect on deep things together, but somehow when her controlling side comes out she’s really obsessive and can’t see any wrong in her behaviour. I have grown up with a constant fear of her especially because I can see her OCD (not diagnosed but it’s very obvious to all the ppl I talk to) and have always been walking around eggshells around her. It’s not just an obsession with cleanliness but also an obsession with “caring for me”. She somehow taught my brother to do things like that and so I haven’t had a peer in my family to talk to about this most of the time. When I was 19 I told my mum that she should get help but that only made her villainise me. I am struggling to heal from everything but also feel sympathy for her as I can see that she is an un-healed person. Praying that we both will heal and even if acceptance gives relief, there’s that growth mindset in my subconscious mind (far far away) that believes that she’ll change one day. I don’t wanna walk away but am always wishing for the time for marriage to come soon and for my dependency on my mum as a sick child to go away. Thinking about the wishes I have for my mum (or what I want from her) will definitely help me see who in my support system I can get those things from. Will try this.

  2. I’m twelve and still living with my mom my home life is good except for one thing, my mom thinks of me as a maid, whenever I want to do something she gets mad and I’m the one apologizing for her behavior because of this I hate having time with my friends or even going outside. My mother is a clean freak and claims that I don’t do anything to help clean when I’m the one who cleans the most and she is the one sitting on her ass all day on Facebook or watching cooking channels doing nothing to help me

    1. For most of my life because of this “I love you” is a meaningless phrase the equivalent of saying “ take out the trash you entitled piece of s*** and bring me a soda while your at it” as I mindlessly fill out ten of these tasks per hour

  3. I am 39 years old. Throughout my lifetime no matter how hard I try to achieve and accomplish, it has never been good enough for my mother, I have never been good enough, nor Christian enough, only a “sinner”. No matter how much I try to just accept her for who she is, I still hurt inside. I cannot seem to shake it.

  4. I have always felt like my mother hated me. Well not necessarily but I felt it because her and I have never had a bonding moment to be honest. And to this day, we never did. I’m 18 now and I just want to go out and do adventurous things in the city. A little backstory, I never was allowed to go out with my friends through middle school and high school. Only like once a month. I’m not exaggerating. If I were to ask to go out and hang with my friends, my moms excuse was: “don’t you see your friends all the time” or another excuse “ You just went out with your friends last weekend” when in reality it was like a month ago. During my freshman year. My brother came along. Everyone was telling me how amazing it is to be an older sibling and blah blah blah. During my moms pregnancy it was rough because she’s always yell at me for no reason and she was always a never mind. Not going to say it. Anyways. So during that time of my life, I was depressed because all those times she’s yell at me, I always felt so low and worthless. Once my brother was born I was still depressed and was suicidal. After a few months, I was able to go back to a normal happy state of mind. It was a long 6 months but I made it out… fast forward after high school. It’s now my freshman year of college and I still have to ask for permission to go to places even though I have my own car. I always obey my parents and do everything they say. My friends are out here living their lives even though they have strict moms. My mom is the worst. She’s even more strict and she’s becoming annoying. I mean I love her like 50% but not fully 100% because I always try to bond with her but she’s always pushing me away. She gets frustrated easily and has a short temper. Most of my friends hate my mom because I never get to go out or do the fun things they’re doing. I’m always at home doing nothing. Even on winter break which is right now, I’ve only gone out once during my whole first semester of college. Sad right? Yes. Anyways focusing on my mental health at this stage of my life. I’m always having anxiety attacks or panic attacks because I’m always worried I’m never doing things right and I know I always obey my parents. But lately, my anxiety attacks are getting so much worse. I get body tremors and I get extremely nauseous. It’s horrible. I tell my parents why I couldn’t sleep because I’m up til 4 in the morning trying to deal with my anxiety attacks and they’re just like: “oh”. Oh and by the way my parents are Mexican. I hate how Latino parents don’t care about mental health. They think it’s more of a Caucasian type of thing. So basically this is my situation.

  5. Hi, my mother and I get along, but she makes it clear I am not good enough. I am an only child, a professional job wise and have three grown up and happy, well adjusted and successful children. My mother who was also a very successful woman can never say anything positive about me or my three children. She has cut contact with them and only maintains contact with me because I keep trying. She has quite a venomous sister, who likes to give her opinions about my life (I live and work abroad). Anyway, I don’t know if I am flogging a dead horse here, trying to gain acceptance from a mother with no maternal instincts.

  6. my mom and I will be best friends and it’ll seem like we are getting close and then the next day will come and she’s not even the same person, I feel like I have 2 mothers. one day she will say I’m the best son and that she is so proud of me and she’ll be my best friend, then the very next day she’ll say I’m a disobedient and disrespectful son and she’ll scream at me all day and blow up at the slightest thing I do, she’ll blow everything out of proportion and accuse me of doing things I didn’t do and punish me for things I didn’t do, then we’ll have a traumatic argument. she constantly tells me I’m wrong or doing something wrong and she never wants to admit she’s wrong, she’ll always find a way to be a “victim’ in any situation. I never know if any compliment my mom says to me is genuine or not, I never know where we stand in our relationship and it really hurts. sometimes she is her wonderful and kind self but most other days I just have to lock myself in my room all day to avoid her rage. nothing I ever do is good enough for my mom. when I do what she says to do and act the way she tells me to act she still gets furious and criticizes me. I don’t know how to please her, ill apologize for the things she falsely accused me of (even though she should be apologizing) just to try and bring some peace into our lives but she won’t accept my apology and will hold a grudge for days even though I didn’t do anything. I feel like I’m losing my mind and I don’t know what to do but I don’t feel like I can take it anymore.

  7. Since I was young I have never been good enough and I felt it so heavy from a very young age, how I feel or what I wanted was never important I’m always called selfish even when she pond and lost the only thing I had left of my father when he passed and I didn’t give it to her she just took it and anything of value I had and she even spent my college money and all she could say when all I could do is cry every time was I only think of myself. Well I’m in my late twenties with no family of my own and still living under the same roof trying to break free, she constantly asks me for money I can’t seem to save any to get away I’m stressed and feel drained all the time I worry about my health because of the level of stress. However my younger sister is her perfect child and she goes out of her way for her whole life and expects me to do the same .

  8. Just end it. You would not put up with it in a marriage, why put up with it from your parents? Spend time with other relatives…have a family of your own and cut them out of your life. Nobody should be treated this way.

    1. I did this when I had a child. My mom wanted to babysit and I said no. She pestered me and told me how great she was and how terrible I am. This is a consistent thing. She would always tell me how fat/inconsiderate/not giving enough person I am. She is a verbally abusive person.

      I didn’t realize how bad it was until I was talking to someone about it and they told me I sounded like a battered women. That is when I decided that I wasn’t going to talk to her. I don’t want my son to see me with that type of relationship.

      I constantly worry that I will be like her. It is my biggest fear.

      1. I share this same fear. It eats at me every day since having my first child that I will inadvertently continue this cycle. My mother behaves now, exactly as she always complained to me that my nana behaved with her. She always told me growing up how much my nana was horrible to her and was a bad person. And now every single scenario she said happened, is replaying out with me. I never include her enough in my new family, but if I point out that I have asked her to do things with us, she says that she’s busy. She’s horribly possessive and jealous. She deleted my husband and myself from Facebook because I posted photos of my mother in law with my daughter. If I have a convo with her about anything, she just deflects and begins to tell me all of the ways I’ve hurt HER, and never sees anything wrong with any of her behaviour. I’m so worried I’m going to pass these things on to my daughter.
        I also, didn’t realize how bad things were until I started to see other people relationships with their parents. And I was told by a few friends also that her behaviour was awful, but I kept justifying it.
        It’s reaching a breaking point though.

  9. Almost Xmas, visiting elderly Mother, she’s sick so I’ve been caring for her as well as preparing everything for Xmas. I feel it’s a battleground.
    No matter what’s done, its never enough nor right. There are 3 siblings…for valid reasons barely seen. I end up hating myself that its so confrontational…this woman is almost 90 for gods sake…I feel I’m doing everyrhing and more to make it good for her but there’s neither graciousness nor much thanks.
    In truth thanks not needed but the lack of good grace really gets to me and I say it. In truth it’s probably never been different. She is seen as kind by others, can be generous, its like love and money are same…balm. I feel it’s groundhog day Christmas, lived it for so many years.
    This may be her last, I feel it should be my last.
    It’s always unhappy, destructive time.for me and though in poor health also, theres a crushing guilt about being mean to an old sick woman which conflicts with my internal screams for survival.
    Last night another episode really upset me, a 2 hour dog walk in dark with tears streaming…at my age for heavens sake. It released emotion, anger and allowed reflection…some truly unloving, cruel, humiliating acts against me…stuff no loving person would do to a child aged 2 to 11, then some teenage stuff. Left home at 19, moved 250 miles but still responsible for sorting family issues…always, always the parent to the parent..
    I know I’m a decent, capable, caring, loving person…respected by many but never feel it from my Mum…..don’t think I ever have. Her own childhood had trauma wirh loss of father when just 14, her Mother a strong woman…beatified by her children!!
    Understanding it, allowing for it doesnt solve things though…. I care about her, have always been her help and problem solver…in truth many of my ‘lacks in life i attribute to her restrictive, dominating parenting, which destroyed self esteem and created a constant sense of fear (manifested now in serious heart problems for which this year has seen major procedures). I’d luke to walk now but won’t.. Writing this has brought some calm…as has the promise to myself I’ll not do this again.
    These words are brutal to write, she’s old & frail but it doesnt make her a victim, this may be her last Christmas who knows? We all want Christmas to be a time of enjoyment so I will try to achieve this.
    I’ve e thought of losing her to death, the sadness of it, the absolute loss… but i also feel that for me it will be the first tme in my life I will be free, feel free to live.

    1. Hello Honor,
      I am reading your story and am deeply touched by it, as me personal i try to get some answers about this issue of mean mothers, narcissist and difficult.
      I am also a sensitive person, loving and carring, my mom on the other hand very controlling and autoritharian..i never felt her love, i am going through life with an emptiness lacking the support, trust and much more emotions who should have been passed by her.
      I am grateful she gave me her time, totally, an education and clothes to wear. I was and am the perfect girl/child affraid..affraid of anythig because that was how i was raised, criticised, never good enough, try harder, putting pressure and so on..
      It is only now, after a breakup with a boyfriend i am throwing all these toxicity away, i am filling myself with the things I LIKE AND I WANT, responsibly and conciously. I still have a lot to learn..such as how to live without guilt, how to own my life, how not to be influenced by her mean words and trust myself more..

  10. Both my parents were pretty neglectful.
    And I have forgiven my dad for the most part.
    But I cannot forgive my mom no matter how hard I try to.
    All she has ever done I throw money and gifts at hoping they’ll stick. She has ruined almost every friendship I have ever had out of the fear that I cannot make my own decisions to better because my brother screwed up and her family abused her. She covers up her problems with pills and Facebook.
    Which then she takes out on me when she gets angry and upset, like she has done my whole life.
    I have never been her first priority and never will be. And I know that.
    I was neglected most of my life and she keeps saying I had this picture perfect childhood.
    She never saw how much pains I was really in.
    She could see the cuts on my arms I was inflicting on myself but never truly did anything about, just tried pushing pills on me.
    And she didn’t find out for eight years that I tried to commit suicide when I was 15 or that my first thought of suicide was at the of seven.
    Why was I never her first priority?
    Why didn’t she pay attention?
    Why did she put herself be for me?
    Why was I never good enough?

  11. Nothing I have ever done for my mom has ever been good enough. She has said she is proud of me yet she finds any chance she can to criticize.
    Yes, I admit, I have made choices with my life resulting in my negative upbringing. I have been knocked down and knocked down for decades that I have no professional life, no confidence.
    Oh by the way, not only is my mom never happy with anything I do, but I have two older sister’s that constantly put me down too.
    Negativity everywhere.

  12. I am not alone, that makes me feel so much better. I am a mother and would never dream of treating my daughter the way she treated me. Her sons were her life and still are. Part of me is glad she was and still is a horrible person because it makes me want to make sure I tell my daughter every day how proud I am of her and much I love her. Respect your parents I was taught, does that not work both ways? My other sister has not spoken to her for years.

  13. I can’t stand that anything I do is just nothing to my mom. When I think I’m finally having a brake thought of this great mother and daughter relationship it’s not. I love my mom and of course sometimes I hate her. But I do truly love my mom and all I want is the best for her. I know I’m not an angel but I do try my best. My (middle) sister is the “wild child” out of the three of us and I’m the youngest. She is always marking my moms world a living death trap with fire and suffering; believe me. I always try to cheer my mom up. I spend hours and hours with her at the store look at one thing at a time. I tell her jokes and I tell her about my accomplishment from school, work, other involvements. She just says “that good” with no excitement nothing and then walks away. I have to start the conversation and she’s yells at me about the smallest things in the world. That’s basically the only time we actually talk is when she’s yelling at me. I talk to my (Middle) sister and tell her ” Why are you doing this. Your hurting mom I can’t even spend good time w/ her because she’s always stressing about what she’s going to do with you. She’s done. There’s nothing I can do. My mom will always be unhappy. I really don’t want to give up on my mom so I just spend as much time with her as I possibly can. Even if it is sad a pointless I still want to be with her.

    1. What you can do is stop blaming your sister for your mum’s inability to properly be a mum. As a middle child myself, I have a pretty good idea why your sister is acting out and it probably has a lot to do with neglect from not only parents, but also her other siblings. Your sister feels alone, probably has low confidence and self esteem, and deep down wants some positive attention from family thay she’s not getting and you barking at her that everything is her fault is not helping matters. Take some time to think about how your mother’s behaviour has affected and is affecting your siblings too. Blaming siblings is not the way to go, and blaming her for the reason why your mom doesn’t talk to you sounds like bullying. You’re bullying your sister by saying stuff like that to her when it is not anywhere near her fault that your mother cannot show love to her daughters. Accept the fact that you have a neglectful, bad mum and stop trying to sow further seeds of resentment between you and your sister. You need to talk to your sibling and be there for each other, otherwise your mom will drive a huge wedge between you and you’ll miss out on a relationship of mutual support you could have had. As the person who has lived this situation just like you and experienced it firsthand, your sister is your greatest ally in getting through these difficulties with your mum. Talk to each other. But above that, stop blaming her for the actions of a bad mum and start addressing who is the real problem: your mum.

  14. My mum prefers other people’s kids over me and my elder sister. Example, (only names have changed), “Mike took his mates to London in his car.” Mum “WOW Mike is so intelligent!” And when I say “Mum am taking my mates Pizza Hut.” Mum will say “Why are you driving? Thas dumb of you! Pizza Hut’s too far. Where the hell will you park?” IN AN ANGRY SHORT FUSED TONE!!!

    Whatever me n sister do it is NEVER NEVER GOOD! But when so and so does it (other people n there kids) it’s intelligence!

  15. I’m 27 and I can’t remember a single time my mom told me she was proud of me. She’s said “I’m proud of my girls” (referring to me AND my sister) when someone brings up something we did, but it has never been direct. Even when I graduated high school (the first person in our family in a LONG time to do so) I never got a pat on the back. My sister dropped out.
    My mom rarely showed up to my band or chorus concerts (she didn’t work, just didn’t feel like going).
    My first serious relationship was at 19 and I got called a whore and pulled in the living room with the.guy to be.told how much they don’t like him and how I was disrespectful and accused of doing everyone within walking distance. I was with the guy almost 2 years before I let it get serious. My sister was allowed to spend the night with her girlfriend because “it wasn’t the same because she can’t het pregnant” .
    I have always kept a job since I was 15 and always give her money. My sister lives with my mom and Jones hopped, but hasn’t worked in 3 years.
    I have a wonderful husband (th 2nd person I’ve ever been serious with) and a daughter I’m proud of, my mom is raising my sister’s kid.
    The most recent example is from last night. My mom called me.and went off on me for my husband smoking pot and how I haven’t gone to see my sister who is in rehab for snorting pills and shooting up. I got told I was horrible for not putting m daughter in daycare so I can make a 3 hour drive to encourage her.and tell her how proud I am of her for getting help and how my husband is a deplorable addict and he.needs help too.
    My mom is the reason I only want one child and I’m going to be there for every little thing she.does. I tell her everyday I’m proud of chef, even if it’s for putting a toy back in.the toy bin. I will always put her first.

    1. Very inspiring. Im proud of u bcuz i can relate. I hate favortism. & im glad u have your own little family. I love my daughter too. My mom is interferinging with me as a parent. Im struggling tryna go to school. Thats an hour bus ride there & back. She cant even give me a ride. Not even once. Its just petty. All the stuff she says and does that’s not helping. Not to mention children are very receptive to their environment. I dont appriciate her yelling and putting me down in front of my baby.

  16. hello yes I have a problem I live with my mom so does my sister but I do everthing I can to help my mom since I’m the oldest sometimes it gets hard my sister want help do one thing I say something to my mom about her and it starts a big fight she loves her so much she want say anything I lost two brothers because of my mom its not fair when does the favoritism stop she should help I cant do everything all the time I wish I just left this house see how they feel without me I sometimes what to cry I call me sister and tell her my mom told her not to listen to me I hate it. I want my life back

  17. I’ve started telling my mum “I’m happy with who I am, so go f*** yourself”, she is NEVER satisfied.
    I get a job at a fast food place, she says I’m fat and I’m going to die, I loose weight, she says I’m not healthy….. what?
    Since dad died last year, apparently its fine for her to tell me about how she’s so close to killing herself and we’ll probably find her dead in the morning but if I begin to talk about how I feel its like I’ve slapped her in the face and just says “Well he wasn’t your husband”.
    I’m supportive of her, I cook every night, do what she needs me to but its got to the point where I am just so tired of her. Its like I can’t even grieve without her twisting my words to say I’m attacking her.

    1. What is with the attacking thing? My family only includes mom and me (dad passed away 7 years ago). She is very controlling and dominating. I have had to quarrel and fight to do anything that I want to do. Even for something as simple as getting my hair cut the way i want. She won’t let me wear the clothes I’d like to wear, not let me go to places, even kept me under house arrest for a couple months. I wanted to trun away. After that I just snapped one day and simply stopped listening. I started wearing what I wanted to. Cut my hair the way I wanted to. Joined dancing. She hadn’t spoken to me for months when I joined dancing. I simply started saying no and that was something she could not handle. Like I said, she is extremely controlling and dominating, so much so that she keeps tabs on my salary and how much I’m spending (I’m 24), with not really letting me spend anything. Yesterday we had this huge tiff, and I told her everything that was on my mind. She went on the defensive and sort of denied doing anything at all. Everything was my fault. And then she said that I hadn’t really achieved anything that would make her proud or happy for me. That hurt.

      1. And whatever I say, she twists it and thinks I’m “attacking” her and throws huge drama. I dont know what to do about that. I don’t understand what I ever did for her to behave this way with me. I am tired of her cold phases, screaming, nagging, instructions, telling me what to do all the time.. I’m sick of it… I want to move out but I dont earn enough to afford living on my own for now. I am so tired it.

  18. i have recently discover that my mother and her partner are treating me as if I am dog.
    Constantly tell me off. It seems to be my fault all the time even when I want to take the dogs.
    My mum mention to me that they didn’t want me to put the little dogs in the basket so I brought
    a proper waterproof warm trailer for the sweeties but my problem is I have a trike not a bike so can not
    fit it normally can secure it quite nicely on my basket thinking my problem was over.
    But then my mum banned me from taking the dogs out in it because it is unsafe.
    It’s not fair I do not know what they want the dogs to have enough space or be cramped and cold in the basket. Should i rebel and do it anyway it is my trailer and I do have it.

  19. I want to thank you for this article. The part about self sabotaging really sung out to me, for years I’ve not completed courses and now it’s affecting my chances at long term employment. My parents never worked much when I was a child but were always hyper critical of me and my brothers. We were never good enough. I managed to leave home and find some peace away from them. My brothers were not so lucky they scrape by emotionally and financially. I do feel for them. I’ve had to accept that they did the best they could as parents, both came from pretty horrendous childhoods themselves. I’m not going to get the relationship I want from them so I’ve had to seek it from other people.

    I’ve set some pretty harsh boundaries with my parents. I only visit once a fortnight on a Sunday night and stay just for a cup of tea. If I have to be honest I would say that’s a little bit too much for me, my parents have a special way of making me feel like a hollow person. However they’re getting older and won’t be here forever. I’ve made it clear that certain topics such as when I’m having children, homelife and employment/education are not up for discussion since they always lead to a negative conversation. It doesn’t really give us much to talk about but at least we can communicate a little bit even for 5 minutes. One of the more surprising things was to set a boundary on when they can ring. I was unemployed for a while and they took that as they could ring at 8am and I should answer.

    I felt a lot of guilt and a lot of anger from them by setting these boundaries but it’s made my life a little bit better. I’m still hurt and angry at the way they still treat me, like I can’t do anything. I’m now considering what I want to do in life since this is the first time ever I’ve had that freedom. I’m a bit surprised I’m leaning towards mental health as a career path. I hope when I start studying again I won’t sabotage myself and start a successful career.

  20. Oh my mother is terrible… and i know there’s not much to do about it. I just have to stay away from her and never let it get to me because is not my fault… neither hers. She is just in a wrong mind set, she ignored what is most important and that illness will not let her grow in any area of her life. Her demand of justice is just another excuse, there is not good or bad. But she still believes there is… so ill just walk away from her and move into what makes me and my kids happy. I will not accept any help from her, because it means she will gain territory in my life, she will make decisions for me or force me thru those accommodations. So i better live my uncomfortable life in peace… life is struggle anyway so we just have to face it positively… my mother hurts herself with her actions even more than what she hurts me… and i can’t change that neither so… ill let her go with her cross and ill take mine.

  21. My mom always berated me. As an adult she still treats me like a child, she never approves of how I clean things up, the way I live, spend money, my feelings get disrespected, she doesn’t like my husband, his spending habits, nor us living at home. I suffer from major depressive disorder, OCD, and social disorder with anxiety issues. My husband vacuums, used to do dishes, I do everything, and its never, ever good enough. I do all the cooking and cleaning since I was a late teen and into my thirties. I had a mental breakdown when I was 15&17 and never was treated fairly in my early teens. I was left completely alone, never comforted, consoled, and never felt loved. I grew up resenting my parents for being over protective, over bearing, I was asked if I was ever abused as a child. I said no, truthfully both my parents mentally and emotionally abused me. The cycle still hasn’t ended with my mom at all, she tells me not to cry and to calm down. My dad can’t even cope nor deal with me. I feel helpless, hopeless and worthless. They don’t help me nor my disabled husband with our struggles neither.

  22. One of the best ways to deal with a mother who makes you feel like you aren’t good enough is to find ways to feel good enough regardless of what she says or thinks! It’s important to know how to give yourself the love and acceptance you crave from her.

    Ideally, we all wish we had perfect parents. We wish they were healthy and whole, and able to give us the love and support we need. But the reality is that even the healthiest, happiest parents aren’t perfect. They make mistakes, they hurt us, and sometimes they even make us feel like we’re not good enough.

    We need to find ways to get the love we need, so we Blossom in life. I wrote this article yesterday

    It’s about learning how to love yourself even when you don’t feel good enough. I hope it helps – and I encourage you to talk to someone you trust in person, and get the support you need. You may not be able to get out of it, but you can get through it!


  23. I am 12 years old, and I will turn 13 soon in the summer. My mom keeps telling me that I’m stupid, and asks me why I can’t be better and be like everyone else. She thinks that other kids my age are way better then me and that I should try to be like them. I don’t get it: I have gotten all As in my report card, and never anything below an A-. Even if I’m just answering a question that my mom asks, she tells me to stop. I ask her, why are you telling me to stop? What did I do? And she replies: You know what you did wrong, stop giving me that attitude! I have absolutely no clue what I should do. I’m starting to feel worthless myself! Help!

    1. I’m sorry you feel this way . your teenage age years are a difficult time of transformation and can be easy to hurt your self esteem . Do not let your mom or any one else make you feel worthless . Trust me it’s much easier said than done. I have always received all A’s in my report cards, I was the first person to graduate from a university in my whole family (50 people total ) , I’m almost done with my masters , drive a nice car , have a good job , have a decent fit body .Yet , my mom tells me I’m a failure every single day . The worst thing is that i believe it when she says it to me. I know I’m not but when she says it , it makes me feel so small … so , please start telling yourself that you can achieve many things , start now so that when you do achieve that greatness , you can believe it . It’s complicated to explain (sometimes I still don’t understand it ) . Just remind yourself everyday of something good about that day . Write it down . Even if it’s something small , like you said hello to a new person , or raised your hand in class , woke up ten minutes earlier . Celebrate your little wins .

  24. I have so much problems with my mom. I’m McKenzie and I am 14 years old. My mom is always telling me that I don’t try hard enough and that I am ruining her life….What can you say about that? I want to just disappear….She makes me feel worthless and /tbh i feel worthless……Help me!!!!

  25. Hi, it was nice reading this article and after doing so I’ve realized that my mum is really not just ready to accept the truth. I don’t hate her. Love her infact. She’s been there for me always whenever I needed help support love. But as I grew up I realized she had really unreasonable dreams and aspirations about me. She wants me to study in top class universities, score the highest, get a job and earn crores by some way of magic. If you ask me quite frankly, I find it really unreasonable and just not ME. I am happy with little things in life. Getting reasonable things that bring me joy. Although it’s nice to see that she cares about my future but it’s not her job to chalk out the entire of MY future. It’s my future. She wants me to be successful not at the cost of me being happy in the coming future but to show other people- all those who betrayed her and talked about her. She wants to prove to people and show me as someone I’m not. She is never pleased about my successes. I qualify a test but she’s not happy because I wasn’t at the top of my class. She doesn’t realize that I did qualify!
    It hurts to see that she loves me otherwise but the moment things don’t go her way or I don’t provide her with what thinks is mine and her happiness she outright ignores all the other little things in life. She is just never happy about my dreams and aspirations. She has a hard time grasping the fact that not everything can go according to her. Nothing I do seems to make her truly happy because her ultimate aim is to show other people how successful her kids are. That’s downright stupid and every time she does that it’s like an insult to my dreams and the little things that make me happy. There’s no “me” or even an “us” there’s just “SHE”. And she does have a few favorite lines of hers…….”Don’t ever do this?/that to me”, “Don’t ever betray me, God’s watching he’ll teach you a lesson in his own way”, “A few years down the lane you’ll realize how right I am”.
    I have no idea what to do! Because when I can’t do what she wants me to, she’s hostile ans so cold. She lives in the past and hopelessly dreams of a future which I many times have told her that I don’t desire. Nothing I do is good enough for her. Nothing is ever good enough for her.

  26. It is amazing, how much power our mothers have over us even if they’re gone! At some point, it has to be up to us to turn away from the influence they have, to be able to shrug off the feeling that nothing we do is good for our mothers.

    I think we have to start living for ourselves, and learn how to let go of the control we give our mothers over our lives, emotions, personalities, and lives.

    Is this possible?

  27. I had always believed after my mother passed, I would magically become a person. She has been gone for about 5 yrs., and I am still not a person, I am just some kind of thing that happens to live and breathe.

  28. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that my mom just really doesn’t like me that much. I keep holding on so tightly, in hope that I can just change her mind, get her to see my value. I have an older sister that she seems to prefer, she is successful and everything my mom wants. I think I remind her a lot of my dad, someone else she doesn’t like very much. It’s really painful and my heart breaks about it so often I am not sure I have heartbreak left. I am going to try to work on accepting or relationship for what it is, it’s ok if she doesn’t like me. I feel like I am morning the relationship I wanted with my mom and trying to figure out my world without her in it in such a central role. I love her and I wish she felt something for me that wasn’t disappointment and anger.

  29. Dear J,

    Thank you for sharing your story here – I hope writing your thoughts and feelings helped! I think you’re 100% right when you say you need to stop looking for your Mum’s approval. It’s easier said than done, but I encourage you to surround yourself with people who give you what your Mum doesn’t.

    I once read that we have to give ourselves the love and nurturing that we didn’t get from our parents. We have to love ourselves, comfort ourselves, support ourselves, and give ourselves everything we crave from our moms and dads. My counsellor even told me to close my eyes and give the 6 year old me the hug and comfort that I didn’t get from my mom – or anyone in my childhood.

    Learn how to give yourself what your mother didn’t give you. That’s what to do when nothing is good enough for your mother: make it good enough for you.


  30. I am almost 21, and have just finished my first year at university. Since I was about 15 my relationship with my Mother has completely broken down. I had depression very badly a few years back, and my Mother constantly made me feel like I was a problem and made me feel guilty for not being more how she wished I was.

    I have a sister 5 years younger than me who has always been my Mum’s favourite, mainly because they are both quite similar, loud, noisy people, whereas I am more reserved like my Dad. I have always been told ‘Why can’t you be like your sister, she’ll do this or that’ or ‘she won’t make a fuss if etc’. My sister has ADHD, and is always doing things that I would have been absolutely crucified for, like stealing from me, or smoking, and yet she is given so much more praise. In my opinion she isn’t even a very nice girl, and is very conceited and thinks she is entitled to everything.

    I have done well in my first year at uni, I work very hard, and I am a good person who cares about others, and yet my Mother will always try to find things to complain about. Sometimes it is as if she enjoys doing it, like I am her way of venting frustration. The hardest thing though, is that sometimes it is like she can’t make up her mind, and is absolutely lovely to me, telling me how proud she is of me and compliments me on everything from my appearance to my work ethic – this usually lasts a very short amount of time though, a day or so, before she resumes her normal tone of voice and air of distaste around me.

    I had a long term relationship that ended a year ago, and he would always confirm my feelings when I would talk to him about this, and would assure me it wasn’t all in my mind, which is something I have worried about. He would tell me that I should live for myself and that my Mum was jealous of my appearance and the fact I am going to university, something she didn’t get a chance to do. The problem is, since we split, I have nobody who understands this, we are a very small family and there isn’t anyone else I can talk to who knows the situation.

    Recently I have learned that my family are going away without me in a month or so, because my Mum apparently said I didn’t want to go. However the holiday has not been mentioned until my sister brought it up recently to me, and I found out she was unaware that I had no idea about it. This really made me realise I need to stop looking for my Mother’s approval and live for myself, but it’s hard and I can’t stop wishing she loved me like she does my sister, who she always sees the best in, especially at a point in my life where I am not very close to many people anymore.

    1. Hi J,
      I know how you feel, and I ALSO know that this devastated felling opens up gates for predators (like you ex, probably). When you have an open wound, like the wound caused to your mind by your mother, a lot of parasites will get attracted to you, and will make you much more sicker & impoverished than you are now. Beware of whom you open up to, and even if you did open up to a person without second thoughts, atleast keep in mind that this person has the keys to your heart & access to all your emotional buttons, and has every opportunity to abuse them for his purposes. ESPECIALLY since you are a good student, and you will likely end up in a well paying job, I can almost guarantee that some greedy, lazy man will try to worm his way into your trust & affections (there are a lot of such men around, trust me). My ex had married me for money – and when I didn’t surrender all of my money, he came close to murdering me. I had a narrow escape. Now I’m separated from him. The “you will forever be incapable of navigating your own life. You are no good at that.” which my mom had repeatedly drilled into me (mostly indirectly, by always picking tiny faults in everything I do, and always “justifying” how my ideas are stupid, by always making a disgusted face looking at what I cooked, though it would actually have been pretty good or decent, or sometimes even turned out exactly the way she makes it) showed through. My ex had mentioned it to me without me saying anything to him about it. He saw the hurt & vulnerability & took full advantage of it. He tried to take all my money quoting various “reasons” – like “wives MUST handover all their money & their earnings to their husband. This is the norm”, and he also followed my mom’s methods, but million times more ruthlessly – he used to shout vigorously that I am no good, I have no brains (I am much better qualified than him, graduated from a prestigious university) and I ought not to be holding any money, and that I am a fool, that’s why I’m not doing the “wise” thing of giving all my money to him, and this is the proof that I am a fool. (??!). When all this didn’t work much, he resorted to (failed) murder. In fact my mom helped in my escape from him, otherwise I would have got killed.
      The point is, a lot of greedy sharks are out there who are looking for soft targets to easily rob money from (or exploit in other ways), and hurting women like us fit the bill perfectly. Just keep in mind that you are susceptible to such shark’s bites, and watch out. Wish you all the best dear! Take care.

  31. All my life, everything I’ve done has never been good enough for my parents. My Granny used to tell them to stop having a go at me as I would end up resenting them. Before my Granny died, this never bothered me too much as I always had her support and didn’t need theirs. Afterwards, I thought passing my degree and obtaining a successful career would make them realise that I’m not lazy, don’t do nothing and I actually work too hard sometimes.
    I’m 23 and an editor of a highly successful magazine in the UK, live independently in a nice home I saved for and obtained, I also have a part time job on the local radio station, yet nothing has changed.
    At 16, whilst studying I had to work and pay rent towards the house, do chores and cook regularly. Yet my younger brother who is 19, still doesn’t have to get a job or do anything (I don’t resent him for any of this.)
    My Mum has even admitted to me that my younger brother is the favourite.
    If I miss one of his gigs (he’s a musician), I get hell on earth for not going, to the point where they actually haven’t spoken to me for 4 days now, because I missed one at the weekend.
    I have now gotten to the point where it has gotten so painful and upsetting that I can’t keep thinking there will be a silver lining and don’t really want to keep them in my life as their unacceptable behavior is distracting me from my new promotion.
    I have always tried to discuss this with them, but it always ends in them yelling and me walking away or hanging up the phone in tears.
    I even have reservations about having my own children, as I couldn’t forgive myself if I ever treated one of them like that.
    Consequently, I don’t appear to others as insecure at all (quite the opposite in fact), but in truth I question everything I do and regularly suffer from panic attacks (in the privacy of my own home). Everything I achieve I feel like I don’t deserve it, despite knowing I’ve worked really hard for it. The only good thing is I have a boyfriend and great friends who seriously beg to differ!

  32. For Laurie:

    Thank you so much Laurie, this will definitely be helpful for sure. I have looked into her books, and it looks like I will be buying a few!

    Maybe this will inspire me to finsh my book as well.

    Again, thank you.


  33. Dear Serena,

    I am so sorry I missed your comment! Are you following this article? If so, let me know how you’re doing these days.

    It seems to me that it’d be good if you had some distance from your mother. Do you need her to drive you to school every day, or can you find your own way? Can you get a roommate instead of living at home?

    I’d love to hear from you again, and hope you come back and let me know how you are.


  34. Dear Claudine,

    It sounds like nothing you do will make your parents happy! What a frustrating, dispiriting place to be. No matter what you do, you’re met with criticism and statements that you’re not good enough.

    Since your parents will never change, you need to find ways to cope with their statements and behaviors. I know it’d be much easier if they’d only change and accept you for who you are!

    But they won’t. I can’t give you tips on how to change your mother’s perception of you, because only she can do that.

    The only person you can change is yourself. I don’t mean that you should change to become a different woman! I mean you might be happier if you change your perception of your parents. They are who they are, and they love you. They may not act like loving parents, but they’re doing the best they can. For some reason, they can’t love you the way they “should”…and you can’t wish them into the parents you want.

    I’ve been reading alot of Byron Katie lately. I LOVE her perspective on life – she calls it The Work. If you can read her books and do The Work, you’ll find your relationships will change because YOU will change.

    Take a look at Byron Katie’s books, and let me know what you think.


  35. Good morning,

    I am a woman now in my 40’s and was adopted at the age of 7 months old. I have made some bad decisions in my past as a teenager and struggled for most of my life until just a few years ago. I am proud of my achievements, although for my parents, it’s still not good enough. It was always, to get a better job; better place to stay; still bringing this subject up every chance they get. From my hair, to my love life…See I am a minority at society’s eyes; I’m African and Caucasian, and my preference was and still is a black man. My parents always and still question the fact that I am dating black men. I was told once in my 20’s when I had asked my mom what would she do if I’d get married with a black man and have children…She answered me; “Don’t ever do this to me”!
    It stayed with me. I am still single and already having attachment issues, I have my mom telling me all the time that I am better to stay alone, that it’s too late for me now anyway, because I’ve been alone for too long. Like I’m suppose to roll over and die alone. I don’t even have a girlfriend. It’s hard.

    Nothing I ever do, is good enough…When I don’t call for awhile, as I sometime need a break, like now after the Holidays that I hate with passion, because they don’t call either, unless they want something from me…like it’s someone’s birthday coming up; so I don’t plan anything that day and be there….I’m told that I don’t care!

    Point is, no matter what, it’s never going to be good enough. They favor my little sister and my brother…even my sister-in-law, even though my brother and her are divorced now.

    I guess all I can do is go on….and try to condition myself in doing things for myself, and not for her. But it’s hard, as it is the only family I have…

    Any suggestions?

  36. I’m a college student living with my parents. My mother has made me feel like I’m not good enough for her ever since I was in elementary school. Ever since I was seven, she’d yell at me for everything I did wrong and tell me, “I’m stupid.” or “You can’t do anything right.” She also doesn’t listen to me when I try to tell my side of things.

    On top of that, she’s overprotective. I’ve never had a social life at all because she thinks that all young people is get in trouble.

    To make matters worse, I’ve had few friends (especially with other girls) because I have interests that are different from most people. Unlike most girls, I hate shopping for clothes and I’d rather be reading, writing, watching movies or Japanese animation, and playing video games. I’ve also been reluctant to make new friends because I’m scared that they won’t like me because I’ve got an overprotective mother.

    My older sister and my dad say that I need to develop a thick skin. However, it is hard for me to do that when I resent my mother for making me more insecure than I already was. In high school, I felt like an outcast because of how different I am and I was bullied for two years. They made me feel like I had no place to belong. In addition, they called me, “ugly” and retard”, which at the time, felt like confirmation of my mom’s hurtful words. Also, I had spent my high school years getting good grades so I could get praise from my mother.

    The combination of my school problems and my family problems made me depressed. On the eve I turned 16, my mother told me, “You’re sixteen years old and you still can’t do anything right.” The next day, I wanted to die. I had planned to kill myself on New Year’s Day 2008, but I didn’t know how because I was at my sister’s house for the holidays.

    Reluctantly, I told my sister about my suicidal feelings and told my mom about them when I got back. I didn’t tell either of them about my feelings of inadequacy because I wasn’t aware of them at the time. I was only aware of feeling like I couldn’t do anything right and that I felt I had no place to belong.

    In 2009, I graduated high school feeling less happy than a normal person would. I felt more numb than happy, tired of high school and the angst I had. I wanted a fresh start when I started school at community college, so I didn’t keep in touch with the friends I had from high school.

    Unfortunately, my first year of high school wasn’t good. I managed to make one new friend my first semester, but she forgot about me during the summer. I was very hurt by that, and cut myself off from other students in order to avoid getting hurt again. As a result, I became very depressed again and nearly self-destructed again. This was when I became aware of my feelings of inadequacy.

    Last year, I managed to restore some of my self-esteem by volunteering at the library and getting my first job, which was on campus. I also started a blog in order to practice for becoming a journalist, which is one of my career goals. Furthermore, I got some personal counseling. However, I also had a breakdown a few months before that happened because my mother made me cry at a family wedding.

    She had yelled at me for not putting my dress on correctly, for not being able to get a slice of cake for myself, and she tried to make me leave the wedding early because she thought one of the groom’s family members was trying to harass me. My sister managed to temporarily comfort me, but I still felt awful and really hated my mother at the time.

    When I got my first paycheck, my mom took some of my money to pay for gas because she drives me to school. I cried like I did at the wedding, because part of the reason I got the job was because my mom was complaining about bills. I felt like the job was more HER JOB than mine. My sister told me to buy something with the leftover money so I would feel better. I didn’t want to do that; I just wanted the satisfaction of having something that was mine and not my mom’s.

    This year, I have managed to boost my self esteem by getting a decent amount of blog followers, winning my first blog award,and becoming a student editor for my school’s art and writing magazine. I’m more happy with myself than I’ve been in a long time. However, I still don’t feel good enough for my mother and I’m still wary about telling people about my sheltered life.

  37. Dear Sarah,

    I think you’re fighting a losing battle with your mom! It’s not that nothing is good enough for her…it’s that her values and beliefs are different than yours. The trick is to find ways to live in peace together, even though you have different beliefs about the best way to live your life.

    No matter what you do or how old you are, your mom will always want what’s best for you…and she may never think you’re living the right life. That’s just part of the mother-daughter relationship.

    You can’t change your mom’s mind or make her understand your choices. You have to learn how to accept her for who she is. Ideally, she’ll do the same for you…but you can’t force her to do it.

    I answered you more fully here:

    How Do I Convince Mom It’s Okay for Me to Move In With My Boyfriend?

    I hope it helps!


  38. My mom and I have had a rocky relationship for most of my adolescence. We fought almost every day and could never see eye to eye. When I turned 18, I wanted to move out. I met my boyfriend that year as well. We fell in love and decided to move in together when I was 19.
    My mom did not like that. I was raised Christian with Christian values and pre-marital sex is not something she agrees with at all. She tells me all the time she wants what’s right for me and for me to live a Christian lifestyle. I can understand this.
    However, I don’t see it as that big of a deal. My boyfriend and I cherish each other and sex is not something that defines our relationship. I guess my question is this: What can I do to help her understand that? Maybe I am misunderstanding her? Help!

  39. My mother I believe has always hated me. She went from foster home to home as a child and was badly raped by her causin. She married my father who messed with me as a child. This she knew of but did nothing about it. She walked in on it from the end of the hall she told my father to get down stairs but never said a word to me. After that night He never did anything again. when I was growing up she always favored my brother and not me. He got a trip with all his friends to another state she said I wasn’t geting to go. we went camping he got to bring 12friends I got 1. then when I had my son. I did everything she asked me to, got a job, had my brothers wife watch my son didn’t pick him up in the middle of the night ,only on my days off. Then my brothers wife said that my mom was contacting a atterney to see what her chances were of taking custdy of my son away. that day I quite my job and got my son home with me. Didn’t talk to her for a long time. I did my best those years. then later on I had another son. my 3rd. She came around I knew it would be bad news. I was in a abuseive relationship but had moved all across town into a new place and there was no reason for DHS to get involved. But behind my back she was talking to DHS making bad things up about me. I lost him and my daughter. she didnt want my daughter cause she’s a girl. she told me that. then 2yrs later I had twins I was a week away from my case closing when one fell out my window. the fauther found me so they were temparry placed with my mom. DHS said dont’ worrie shannon there is no reason for us not to return your boys to you just had to wait tell i got my new apartment. well my mom got in their ear again and now she has my boys and wont let me see them. I would just let her go forever but i can’t she unfairly got my boys from me i can’t let them go what do i do

  40. My reply is to Rebecca.
    They did let you back into there home, which is something more than many people I know would get, my mother is a typical boomer, for them the prospect of moving out and buying your own home with a normal wage packet was when they were young was possible, sadly those days are gone for my generation and this is something the boomer generation do not understand or couldn’t care less about as they have what they want.
    If your father is a typical Alpha male, then he only ever wanted male offspring, they seem to forget that you need females for society to flourish but that fact escapes them, it’s the whole thing of passing the blood on and all that macho rubbish, females pass on exactly the same amount of genetic material, that could be the source of his disappointment, former preconceptions.
    If you want to let your children know that you love them, tell them, explain what they mean to you, what you are going to do so they may not have to suffer the same problems that you encountered, the being subtle technique doesn’t work for children, there brains are not developed enough yet to fully grasp the concept, but you also need to inform them that it is conditional, nothing too serious, avoid drugs, early parenthood, dropping out of school / college, normal things that most regular parents want there children to avoid.
    It may sound simple, but it should work.

  41. Thank you for writing this. I’m 44, divorced a year ago, and just moved back in with my parents this weekend. Painful. And it’s not my mom that I can never please so much as my dad. I notice several people commenting on *why* their parent(s) were never satisfied. I think perhaps we all search for an answer. Was I too tall? too loud? Too shy? In my case, I was a girl. I think that was one fatal flaw. It’s hard to be back here, being treated like I’m not wanted, and to remember being treated like this for the first 18 years of life. A burden, an inconvenience, and an embarrassment.
    My question is- How do I let my kids know that I love them?

  42. Thanks for sharing your story, Honey! That’s amazing that you stood up to your mother – you refused to accept her the way she was – and she actually changed for you.

    You’ve given me and everyone else who can’t do anything right for their moms hope. I guess it’s worth trying to change your mother, because it may help your relationship with her. Maybe if she knew that you feel like nothing is every good enough for her, then she’d go easier on you.

  43. I personally dont agree with accepting your mom the way she is. You can accept short or tall, black or white, but not if she is selfish, rude, or “crazy”. Have you ever looked at your mom and thought, if you werent my mom, would i still want to be around you? I know I have, and a lot of times the answer was “NO”. We put up with them because of the inside guilt and fear. “What if someday something bad happens to her, and we werent talking?” I think most of us, who have difficult mothers have thought this. So we decide to let her be the way she is. Keep hurting us, and in my case my husband and our children. So what I’ve done to protect me and my family, was this.
    First, I confronted her one on one. Why one-on-one? Well, because I feel she would be more relaxed, and wouldnt have to feel like she needs to put up a whole army of defence. I told her calmly what I “wanted”(yes, wanted, not i would like) from her. I wanted a good relationship, trust, and peace in our family. I wanted her respect our privacy, our choices for our kids, etc.. I saw this as a opportunity to tell her everything i felt through the years. Well she couldnt take it, and started yelling, and told be that I cannot disrespect her in her own house. The last thing i told her before I left, was this. She always says that she loves her kids more than anything, and since she gave us birth, she could do whatever and treat us however… And i told her that if this what motherly love means than no, thank you. I talked to my husband, to my family about what problems i had with my mom, but it never felt right, until i told her EVERYTHING! I felt such peace. When I left that day, I didnt have pain, just peace. Days later I wrote her a card saying : If you want to be in my life, and in your grandchildrens lives, you have make those changes for us. It took her a while (im talking months..) but she came around. It was a bumpy road at first,for her trying not fall back in her “moments” and for me to forgive. Now I can honestly say that we have a “normal” relationship, the one I wanted for a very long time. I dont just love my mom for being my mom, but for the person she became. I got my mother back, but also gained a truly amazing friend.

  44. It was very nice to read this article.
    My mother is very unsatisfied with her own life, fatalistic, judgemental and critical and has absolutely no clue that all of these things strongly get projected on her children. She doesn’t seem able to see how she behaves. If i try to defend myself she goes very much against it.
    I’m now 26 and unfortunately i had to go live back home when i was 24 to finish my studies, but now i’m at home it seems very much more difficult to find the courage to work at it, i try to get out of the house as often as possible because i feel like she is sucking away my self respect and i feel powerless to do anything against it. I try to picture myself that how she act tells more about her than about me, and so not accept her view of things. I know i am a good person and i honestly don’t consider myself as a selfish person, even though she succeeds in making me feel one time after time! It’s funny how you can see with your brain just how it is, but that’s not enough to change your feelings. It can only help you to set yourself in a better direction.
    The sentence about your own situation, how that it’s a sickness of your mother and that your robbed childhood won’t prevent you of getting robbed of your childhood, i feel that it’s giving me more peace and at the same time more energy of achieving something that is worthy of myself;). It might seem silly but i put it on my desktop so i will automatically remind myself..

  45. Hello, I agree with you that good looks open doors, the problem is that if there is only one job available, good looks almost always trump talent, especially if the person interviewing you is a typical Alpha personality, who will put the chance of sex above the good of the company, I have witnessed this in many companies, funnily enough many of those companies are no longer with us.

    It makes me laugh often when companies start hiring people based on looks on the firm believe that ‘it will make the company look good’.

    In certain industries, I can accept this, but for most, where the public are not present, there main goal is to produce a product to a very high standard, you must hire people based on talent, or your end product will suffer, but this is often not the case.

  46. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    Dear Andrew,

    I’m sorry that your mom was so critical and judgmental.

    I agree to a certain extent that good looks have a huge effect on how we’re treated, how much money we make, what jobs we’re hired for…and even how our moms treat us. But I do think that not all mothers treat their kids based on their appearance…and while good looks can open doors, in the end talent is really what matters. After all, good looks can only take you so far!

    Thanks for commenting.


  47. Well, there use to be a time when I would try anything to please my mother, however over time I realised that no matter how well behaved I was, how much work I did, how much money I handed over, she would never love me or like me.
    My parents divorced when I was only a baby, and I look like my father, so my feeling on the subject is that she can not love me, despite being a very good person, because of how I look, I genuinely believe that if I looked like her, the story would be different, my older brother looks liked my mother’s side of the family, and he got everything when we were children, literally, it is not the best time in life to learn that people are very biased based purely on looks, but it is a lesson worth learning, they way modern western society works is edivence of that, where good looks are enough instead of being talented.