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Heather13's avatar

What do you think would cause my mother to dislike me so much?

Asked by Heather13 (495points) October 29th, 2016

My mom dislike both me and my younger sister.
She is needlessly critical of us. Whenever I wasn’t sure about what trade I wanted, she would be very rude and critical. But when I tell her what I want to do as a career (denal chairside assistant), she mocks me and tells me not to think about that job. Then proceeds to ask me again and again what I want to do. And tries to bully me into applying for a job where she works. I can’t. She would be in my face every chance she gets besides, I have a disorder that makes my body temp very low, and the place she works is very cold. Anyway, a couple days later, we were talking and watching tv. And she mocked me and saaid “how are you going to be a dental assistant if you can’t take care of your own teeth?”. She said that after seeing a piece of food on my tooth. We had just had dinner, that I made. No thanks from her.

I just got a job yesterday, and she still seem a bit dissatisfied. But not as grumpy.

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26 Answers

tedibear's avatar

How soon will you be able to move out of her house? She sounds very toxic!

If you’re trying to understand why she’s that way, you would need to look at how she was raised by her parents, as well as anything else that affected how she feels about herself. Something has made her bitter and she is turning this on you and your sister. Problem is, if she isn’t willing to admit to having issues, she won’t and can’t change. You can’t change her and you need to find a way to keep your life moving forward.

Bill1939's avatar

My mother was hypercritical too. She often made life for my sister and me miserable. Looking back at my teen years sixty years ago I now know that her intentions were good, though then I fantasized about putting rat poison in her coffee. I recognize she did the best that she could as a young mother with a bipolar condition (a mental illness psychiatry had yet to recognize at the time) who having limited economic means struggled to survive.

I understand how a mother’s behavior toward her children might feel to them like she disliked them. Unless children discover the history that shaped their mother’s (or father’s) personality, it is difficult to put her treatment of them into perspective. In your last sentence, you say that your successful effort to gain employment was met with approval, albeit disdainful. This suggests to me that she has been concerned about your transition from child to adult. If she truly disliked you, would she have cared?

Seek's avatar

All I can offer are hugs, and solidarity, and an assurance that it can get better with time and eventual separation.

Don’t let her make you change your plans. Do what you want, even if it makes her mad. She’s going to complain no matter what you do, so you might as well get the training for that awesome job you want.

canidmajor's avatar

The website is an anonymous place that explores the issues of parents/family members that have personality disorders, diagnosed and undiagnosed. Your mother may be someone with a cluster B disorder.
The information is helpful, and the people on the forum are kind.

This may not have any relevance for you, but I hope you can find something useful.

This is hard, I wish for you an easing of this emotional burden.

jca's avatar

My guess when I first read this a while ago is that your mom doesn’t dislike you, she may have some kind of mental issue and she might just be a bitch.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, try not to take your mothers behavior “personally.” Easier said than done I know, but…this is not about you, this is about her and as others have said she may be suffering ( more to the point, causing YOU suffering ) from an undiagnosed mental/personality disorder.
Do what feels right to you and work towards moving out as soon as you are able. In the meanwhile the best response to your mother is no response.

Do not engage when she is being mean and critical. Ignore her, remain quiet and just walk away if it gets to be too much. Maybe she will back off if she is not getting a reaction from you. A lot of people with issues like to stir up drama and upset, don’t give her what she wants.

Zaku's avatar

Sounds like classic toxic shame, with the parent projecting their own shame onto the children. John Bradshaw is a good source for understanding this. He wrote several books and there are also YouTube videos of him discussing it. Very worthwhile to understand these things at some level and to watch out for them, as so many people have this sort of thing going on, and it’s very useful to understand it rather than just relating to the specific behavior.

ANef_is_Enuf's avatar

Sadly, some parents are like this. Recognizing that it isn’t really about you, it’s her issue, and working making choices to satisfy your own needs and ignoring any desire for her “approval” are probably good things to consider.
I’m sorry, it’s hard to grow up without a mother that is conventionally caring as we picture mothers to be.

cinnamonk's avatar

This resource has helped me understand my feelings about my relationship with my mother. I hope it can help you, too.

kritiper's avatar

It doesn’t sound like you could do anything to make her happy. She is dissatisfied with life in general so accept her as she is. Or give her all the space in the world.

si3tech's avatar

@Heather13 Is it that she dislikes you? Or is she wanting to control everything? At any rate IMHO you can’t thrive in such an environment. I am so sorry about that. Your mother is wasting what could be wonderful years with you, if she would just wake up. You need a loving environment. Try to be strong for your own sake.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I don’t believe that she dislikes as much as she feels frustrated, and possibly worried that you may do nothing worthwhile with your life career choices.Also maybe she is worried tht you will not move on your own in your life.
Career choices take time to find the right “fit” for you.
So take career tests have interviews with vocational counsellors etc to determine what possibilities are interesting for you .
When she shows disgust over your choice of career, tell her that in the end you want to be happy with whatever vocation that YOU choose and that she should respect that. Stop telling her what choices that you were thinking about (dentist) tell her that you are working on that and that responsibility is yours alone, not hers.
Obviously she wants you to move and become more independent.( or contribute to the household .

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

There is a lot of good advice and resources above for you. I sincerely hope that at least some of it is helpful. I have nothing but hugs for you, kid. Keep focused on your dreams and take care of your little sister.

Pandora's avatar

I don’t know a great deal about your relationship to assume she feels hate. I agree with @Bill1939, that if she truly hated you, she wouldn’t show any interests in what you do. Some people do have trouble seeing possibilities for certain people and they may be right. I knew this one guy who changed jobs as often and studied 2 different fields, to only decide it wasn’t for him. Currently he is unemployed thinking he should be studying something else that he tried before and failed. At a certain point you automatically assume someone is just dragging their feet and have no real interests in working. I don’t know if this is your case, but often people on the outside can face what someone will not.

My point is, I have no idea if she is being critical and small, or if you have given her cause to give up on being supportive and at this point she just wants you to work and help pay the bills.

snowberry's avatar

My mother in law acted similarly toward hubby. For some reason she insisted he was a lousy mechanic. A few years later he managed to rebuild a transmission by himself, (without training), and it worked!

Don’t let your mother’s negative attitude ruin your future. There’s a lot of good advice here. Use it.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

You only started a new job two-months ago? What happened to that position? Is it possible she thinks you need to settle down and stick with a job? I’m not saying you should or shouldn’t. I’m just asking if she might think this. Personally, I think if you really want to work as a dental nurse, you should seek advice about how to make that happen, but if you’ve jumped from one job to another, perhaps she has little faith you will make this happen?

I know you’ve asked about your mother before and that you’re in your late 20s or early 30s and still living at home. I know from past questions, this behaviour isn’t new for your mother. Obviously, she causes you a lot of grief and people have suggested you move out. Have you done anything about that? She isn’t going to change. As has been said before in responses to you, this may not have anything to do with you, and have everything to do with her. You can’t change her. You can change your situation.

Heather13's avatar


She doesnt want me to be free.
She wants to know my every move, and doesnt like the idea of me wanting yo marry and leave. She actually criticize my job choices because I didnt chose to work where she works, so that she can micromanage my moves at work. Its all she talks about. She talks alot about childrsn needing to take care of their parents. She wants me to be visible at all times so that she can control me physically, mentally, emotionally. I cant even where my hair the way I want it, because she bullied me into the style she wants. Someone suggested today jokingly about me leaving home, and she said that I am not until someone has a nice house to marry me and put me in. So she thinks by keeping me at home, she can keep close tabs on how much I make, me cooking and cleaning her house, and eventually take care of her when she choses to retire.

That job seemed promising until they started to be dishonest and stopped paying me. She and my stepdad suggested I stopped working there. My car caught on fire there also and wss totalled. Its hard for me to move out cause they have me paying rent and utility bills, along with my own personsl bills. She has done a great deal for me, thats even life saving instances. So her deal is that I owe her in this way. Its hard cause I have allowed her to control me from infancy, with fear.

Pandora's avatar

@Heather13 Do you have a friend you can move out with? If you are already paying rent and utilities than you should be able to find a roommate. Look near colleges that often post people looking for a roommate.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

Only you can change this story @Heather13. I’m a parent. I help my children. They don’t owe me anything. I choose to help them.

If this isn’t the life you want for yourself, you have to take action and change it. You can keep posting the same question here (in various forms), but nothing will change until you do something about it.

I think we’ve all asked you if you can see a therapist. That would be a great start to help you build up the confidence and self-esteem you need to walk away from this toxic situation. Until you do, you’re going to be coming back here and asking this question over and over again.

snowberry's avatar

Here’s a new way to look at the situation. My mother had a cousin, who from the time she was very small was treated very much like you are now. She never married, she never had a home of her own, and she lived with her parents her entire life. From earliest childhood she was browbeaten and made to believe that she was pretty worthless in every respect. They raised her this way because they wanted a servant, someone who would never leave, and always would be meek and submissive to every thing they wanted. They wanted someone to take care of them in their old age. A slave.

And she did! I never knew her father, but her mother lived to be in her late 90s and she took care of her until the end. She died shortly after that.

Are you going to do the same thing?

cinnamonk's avatar

@snowberry holy crap that’s sad. Too bad no one helped her out of that situation.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

^^ Yeah, @Heather13. This is really old school stuff. The tradition has almost disappeared now, but in many families there was often a designated daughter who was raised to be the caregiver of her parents in their old age. The grooming was exactly as @snowberry, @Earthbound_Misfit and even you, yourself, describe above.

This was especially popular among many Catholic, Orthodox Catholic and Jewish immigrants, reinforced by the local priest or rabbi right on through the 1930’s. It was an old world tradition from a time and place when there were no retirement homes or much of anything else to keep the parents from starving and dying alone. With the opportunities for women and the plethora of facilities for the aged, it is no longer necessary and is almost erased from our society, thank goodness. But it is still very real and effective as witnessed by @snowberry above.

You need to listen closely to the advice given above and obtain the services of a mental health professional to help you recover from this insipid indoctrination and get yourself a life. If money is a problem, you can get counseling at local women’s orgs, support groups, shelters, or the Health Department.

Don’t be that daughter, Heather. You have ever right to have a life of your own. You pay back mama by raising her grandchildren to be the best possible people with the best possible tools you can give them. Or just being happy and satisfied with your life is her payment. That’s the way it works and the way it should work.

snowberry's avatar

If you choose to leave you can be certain that things will get very difficult before they get better. But if you want to live free and not a slave, this is the way out.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I suggest you going to a professional counsellor to work out your problems with your controlling mother.
Controllers can be stopped by NOT doing what she demands.
Be strong, find friends to live with, and become independant.
If you have to tell her that by becoming independant you then will be able to assist her in old age.
Take a job overseas and send money when you can to contribute to her.

Heather13's avatar

@Inspired_2write @snowberry @Espiritus_Corvus She revealed to me recently, that she does not like herself or how her life turned out. She is married, have her own house with her husband. She is still working. And she is in her 50’s. Her husband is still working and in his 60’s. My sister is a nurse and is doing well. I am now working. My mom starting to keep talkingmore and more about her troubled past and none relationship with her now deceaded mother. She’s talking about not like herself after hearing about her sister’s success as teacher of the year. I asked her why she doesnt like herself, she says she has not done anything with her life and cannot relax.

snowberry's avatar

@Heather13 Are you by any chance the oldest in your family? My mother’s family had the tradition that the oldest daughter took care of her parents. She was the oldest daughter, and I am also the oldest. She was a very sickly person and I think the burden of caring for her parents while she was so sick, as well as knowing that I would have to be caring for her as her health continued to deteriorate really weighed on her.

Heather, please keep us updated on how things are going. PM me if you wish… I can help.

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