My Mom Is Crazy: How To Have A Relationship With Your Mother

By: Corrina Horne

Updated October 13, 2021

Medically Reviewed By: Stephanie Chupein

When you're growing up, your mom is supposed to be there to guide you into adulthood. For one reason or another, some people may find it difficult to keep the peace with their mothers.You may even find yourselftelling all your friends, "My mom is crazy." As you grow older, however, the need for guidance reduces and sometimes a friendship can arise between you and your mother.

But what if this natural progression doesn't happen for you? What if you find yourself well-established in your adult life and want a healthy relationship with your mom, but you still find yourself saying, “I don't get along with my mother, and I can't be around her.”

If this is the case, don't worry, you can still work on building a meaningful relationship with your mother. You may just have to take a few extra steps to get there. Continue reading below to learn about the difficulties you may be facing, how it can affect your relationship, and five steps that may help you build a better relationship with your mother, despite the history you have had.

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Types of Difficult Moms

There are many different ways your mother can exhibit behavior that may make your relationship difficult. The most common way that mothers overstep is through controlling behavior—the controlling mother. Many mothers want the best for their children, and they believe that they are able to definitively suggest and enforce what they feel is best. Though this strict guidance may have been appropriate and necessary in childhood, parental influence and interference may grow increasingly unnecessary—or even inappropriate—as children grow into adulthood, and it may put a lot of strain on your relationship. A mother who continues to demonstrate controlling behavior and to interfere in her adult child's life may make the relationship increasingly strained.

The guilt-tripping mother is another common manifestation of a potentially difficult mother. A mother who exhibits guilt-tripping behavior, they may consistently use guilt to get their way, or to elicit displays of affection. This mom might regularly bring up how difficult it was to birth or raise you, or she may frequently describe how lonely she is, now that you've moved out and started your life as an adult. A guilt-tripping mother is often hoping to get an unfulfilled need (namely, the need for love, affection, or acceptance) from her children when she is unable to find it elsewhere.

The "best friend" mom also often falls in this category. The mom who always tried to be her child's best friend is often seen as difficult because she usually lacks appropriate boundaries between her children and herself. The best friend mom might blur the lines between communicating with and confiding in her children, and she might have struggled to properly enact discipline and rule setting. The best friend mom often does not understand how to have an appropriate parent-child relationship, and relies more on her friendships as a guide for motherhood.

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How These Moms Affect Their Children

Having a difficult mom may have felt like a rite of passage as a child, and many of your friends may have had similar experiences that you shared with each other. As you grew older, however, you may have realized your mother’s difficult behavior may have affected you negatively. Parents who promote secure attachment in their children typically provide their children with support, comfort, and aid; and having a mother who is overly controlling, who uses manipulation to get her way, or who has unhealthy boundary-setting habits can create a veritable breeding ground for resentment, anger, anxiety, depression, and personality disorders. This is because many of the descriptions of a difficult mother may also fit the description of an abusive mother. And, childhood abuse is often the source of real, lasting, and extremely damaging trauma. If you or someone you know is experiencing physical abuse, it’s important to seek help. You can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline. They can be reached online or by calling 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). They’re available for support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Parent-inflicted trauma can show up in a host of different ways such as mild anxiety, and some of them extremely intense and painful, as is the case with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The types of trauma inflicted by mothers can go undetected for years,showing up in troubled or failed relationships. It can also be overt and show itself immediately in childhood—through childhood anxiety, difficulty in school, or difficulty making friends. When dealing with a difficult, individuals may find it extremely difficult managing their feelings and the complications that potentially arise.

Dealing with a Difficult Mother

Learning how to deal with your difficultmother is an important part of moving forward with your relationship and forging a healthier, happier and more connected bond. It may seem easiest to simply ignoring how your mother made you feel, or the way that she demonstrated inappropriate or unhealthy behavior. However, there are steps you can take to move toward a stronger, healthier familial bond, while maintaining firm, healthy boundaries. These include:

Step 1: Try to understand her behavior.

If you find your mother’s behavior difficult, it may be helpful to try to understand what could be causing her to act that way towards you.

It may helpful to gain a perspective from her point of view. You may want to learn what you can about her life and childhood. It may be helpful to learn what kind of relationship she had with her mother. This may have impacted the way she behaves as a parent, or she may be repeating patterns she’s learned from her upbringing.It's important to try to accept what you learn without judgment or criticism.

Step 2: Forgive her.

Understanding your mother’s past and potential reasons for her behavior which has made your relationship difficult, may be able to help you let go of any anger or resentment you may have towards her. However, it’s important to remember there is no excuse for any kind of physical abuse.You may not be able to control your mother's behaviors but you can choose how you react. It’s important to tell your mother how she made you feel. It could be helpful to writer her a letter to get your feelings out.  You may have to forgive her without any apology, but the forgiveness is for you, not for her. Learning to forgive may be able to help you heal and not hold onto negative feelings.

Want To Learn How To Have A Better Relationship With Your Mother?
Ask An Expert. Chat With A Board-Certified Family Counselor Online Now.

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Step 3: Ask Yourself What You Want From Your Relationship.

It's important to understand what you are looking to get from this relationship before you begin to try to repair it. Do youaspire to have a close relationship with her or just want to keep the peace? It may take more work and effort to rebuild a relationship to the level of closeness you desire. It may be helpful to seek support from trusted family or a licensed professional. They may be able to offer guidance and tools that can help.

Step 4: Set boundaries.

Boundaries are important in any relationship, and especially between a child and parent. In order to build a strong relationship, you need to make it clear from the beginning what you will and won’t accept. These boundaries will be unique to each relationship.By creating boundaries, you may be able toreduce any triggers you may have which can minimize potential arguments or disagreements before they begin.

Step 5: Accept that your mother will be difficult sometimes

Every relationship may have its ups and downs. At times, the behaviors that you may find difficult are likely going to resurface. It’s important to find a level of acceptance while maintaining those boundaries you’ve created.Changed behavior takes time, and the effort needs to come from both parties in the relationship.It may be helpful to learn to create healthy distance, or cut discussions short if you find yourself getting upset. You can even learn to redirect the conversation away from distressing topics.

Seeking Professional Support

If you’re finding it difficult to repair your relationship with your mother on your own, it may be beneficial to seek the help of a professional mental health counselor. A licensed counselor can help you, individually, as you work through trauma, heal childhood wounds, learn how to set healthy boundaries, or learn how to improve your self-worth. A counselor can also be a source of support as you work to improve your relationship with your mother through family therapy.


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How Online Therapy Can Help

A growing body of research shows that internet-based therapy can be a highly effective way of strengthening parent-child bonds. One study, published in Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, specifically considers how online platforms can better facilitate parent-child therapy by increasing accessibility. The study notes the common barriers that mothers and children can face when seeking help, including the lack of treatment available due to geographic limitations.According to the research, online therapy platforms eliminate those barriers, providing opportunities for mothers and their children to seek help remotely. Online therapy has proven valuable in promoting healthy mother-child interactions, giving both parties access to the resources necessary to create a strong relationship.

If you would like to try therapy, either together or on your own, online counseling may be a good option. BetterHelp's network of licensed counselors is available to you from the comfort and privacy of your own home (or wherever you have an internet connection).Below are some reviews of our counselors from people who are working through similar issues.

Counselor Reviews

"I'm really grateful Maria was my therapist these past 10 months. I feel like I've grown so much with her guidance to help build healthy boundaries and break down emotional barriers. I really appreciate all the help she's given me."

"Lauren is kind and empathetic when I need it and stern and blunt when I need it. Her experience working with childhood trauma made her the perfect match for me. I'm very thankful for my sessions with her. I hope BetterHelp pays her well, because she's worth more that they know."

Moving Forward

Whether you want to create a healthy relationship with your mother or create healthy distance from her, there are ways to get the help you need. It’s importantto create healthy boundaries in any relationship, make your health a priority, communicate effectively, and if necessary, seek help from a licensed professional. With the right tools andsupport you may be ablemove forwardwith a healthier and more connected relationship with your mother. Take the first step today.


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