Here are the four most common “mom problems” my readers struggle with, plus a few ideas on how to handle problems with your mother.
“Family quarrels are bitter things. They don’t go by any rules. They’re not like aches or wounds; they’re more like splits in the skin that won’t heal because there’s not enough material.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald. Part of the reason we struggle with our moms so much is because we love them so much. The bond between mother and child is as strong as a spider’s web – and as complicated.
Here are the two best ways to handle problems with your mom: 1) Read books like The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed by Jasmin Lee Cori. Learn how to heal the wounds left by your mom, who may have failed to provide what you needed as a child – or even as an adult. Cori teaches us how to cultivate the mothering we missed, which will help us be happy and healthy. And 2) Do not expect your mother to change, or your problems to go away. The only person you have the power to change is you…so I encourage you to start looking for ways you can make changes in your life.
These solutions are based on four readers’ questions. Their mother problems are all very different and difficult. Their full comments are on How to Cope With Difficult Parents – For Adult Children; these are brief excerpts. What’s up with the mother problems? Every question I get lately seems to be about handling problems with mothers, or moms being mean, insane, or prejudiced.
How to Handle Problems With Your Mother
Because there is so much history and emotion between mothers and their children, I can’t simply wave my magic wand and give you easy answers! But, I can offer a few tip thoughts…
My mom never showed her love when I was a kid, and I can’t forgive her
“When I talk to my mom I can’t stop myself from blaming her,” says L. “I keep reminding her that she wasn’t a good mom. I tell her that she never showed her love and that’s probably what she is doing with my little sister, who is depressed. What really upsets me is that she denies everything! And she gets very hurt. I don’t want to hurt her. 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.”
It sounds like you’re still angry and hurt even though you say you’ve forgiven your mom, and you’re stuck in a pattern of relating to her. The way I see it, there are two separate issues here: 1) true forgiveness; and 2) breaking the pattern.
True forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget the past; it means you’re free from pain and bitterness. True forgiveness means you’ve mourned the bad things your mom did to you, you give up your need for revenge, and you stop obsessing about how she treated you. And, true forgiveness of your mother means separating how she treated you from who she is as a woman. She’s flawed, she makes mistakes, and she’ll keep making mistakes. She’s human.
Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves: Healing Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Dr David Stoop is a fantastic book about healing family relationships. He helps readers develop a greater understanding of their family of origin, so they can take the essential step of forgiveness, releasing themselves from the chains of the past to live in freedom and wholeness.
To handle this problem with your mother, remember that forgiveness will make you much happier and healthier. Breaking the pattern involves finding new ways to relate to the problems your mother caused in your childhood. If you’d like me to write an article on how to break old patterns of relating to mothers, let me know in the comments section below.
My mom took my money and invested it in a CD…can I sue to get it back?
“My mom recently gave me $200 so I could go down the shore for a little with friends, and she then tells me that she put my money into a CD at the bank for 18 months,” says N. “She can’t touch it and neither can I until 18 months are up. Me and my boyfriend are planning on moving in together VERY soon and I wanted that money for when we did, but now I have to wait 18 months to get it. 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?”
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This “mother problem” is the easiest one – I should have started with it! Yes, you can sue your mom for not giving you the money she said would…but no, you don’t have much chance at winning. She can give you the $200 any way she likes: in pennies, in CDs that mature in 50 years, or in Canadian Tire dollars.
Plus, taking someone to court can be expensive – especially if you hire a lawyer! Even without a lawyer, you’ll have to pay court costs or filing fees, take time off work, and spend time researching how to win a lawsuit against your mother.
My mom doesn’t accept my sexual orientation, and our fights are getting worse
“We’re always fighting because she chooses not to see or try to understand me along with my sexual preference,” says R. “I keep telling her I did not choose to like males, it’s just a feeling that was there. Trust me, if there was a substance I could drank to rid me of my struggle with my sexuality, I would quickly drink it! Nobody would choose a life where they get ridiculed and scolded.”
The first and most important thing to remember when your mother problems keep getting worse is that she is not going to change. YOU have to change how you relate to her. She may not think she’s the problem. She may not want to or be able to change. She may even be mentally ill – like my mother is.
You need to change how you respond to your mother and the problems she brings into your life. Here’s an article that may help: What to Do When Nothing is Good Enough for Your Mother.
Remember that every mother-daughter-son relationship is different, and I can only offer general tips. To get specific advice, you need to talk to a counselor who has the full picture.
My mom is abusive and mean, but I don’t want to put her in a seniors’ home
“My mother is bedridden and at the age of 80 is still very abusive,” says R. “I’m trying to take care of her myself so she won’t have to go in a home. My sister wants to put her in one, but I wouldn’t want to go in one myself. I thought I’d try and look after her myself, but she is so rude and nasty to me. I am beginning to wonder if she is suffering from some type of insanity.”
There are many homes for senior citizens, and many caregivers who work in those homes who love working with the elderly! Seniors’ homes have such a bad reputation – and they’re not all bad, not by a long shot. Have you visited any, or talked to people who live in them? That may be the best way to handle this problem with your mother.
Instead of bringing your mom’s nastiness and rudeness into your own home where you’ll never escape it, I encourage you to find a good, respectable seniors’ home for her. The best place for your mom to live isn’t necessarily with you! You’ll both be happier.
You may find this article helpful: How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough.
I welcome your thoughts on how to handle problems with your mother. I can’t offer advice, but you’ll find that writing about your family can bring peace and healing.
Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books
Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.
How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.
When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.