What Do You Do When You Think, "My Mom Hates Me"?

Medically reviewed by Julie Dodson, MA
Updated April 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team

At times, it might feel like your mom hates you — especially if she says something to that effect in the heat of an argument. If you feel like your mom hates you, there’s potentially quite a bit to explore and unpack.

While the mother-child relationship is unique, you may find that your mom doesn’t hate you after all, but is instead dealing with issues in her own life that she might be taking out on you. So, what are some of the reasons someone might say they hate their child, and what can you do to create a more healthy relationship?

Trouble at home can affect your mental health

Why do I feel like my mom hates me?

You may have many reasons for believing your mom hates you, and they may not be related to fighting at all. Maybe your experience with “mom hate” is different from your siblings. Maybe you feel that you don’t spend enough time together, or you could think she is too critical of you compared to another child in the family. While not an exhaustive list of possibilities, the following may be some reasons you feel like your mother hates you.

Being treated differently

Different treatment might mean not receiving the same time dedication or affection types that your siblings or other family members do. It may mean that you feel days and events that are special for you – birthdays, holiday participation, school events, etc. – are not given a proportional amount of interest or enthusiasm from your mom when compared to other people in her life. 

Being treated differently for long periods of time can impact your mental wellness and health, so don’t wait to address the situation. 


When you have issues with self-esteem, you may have negative thoughts such as perceiving as though people are judging you, or even that they hate you. These are sometimes internalized thoughts arising out of your interpretation of people’s words and actions toward you. Your mother’s hate for you may not actually exist, but you may interpret their words and actions and come to the conclusion that it does. Such interpretations are then likely to lead to negative feelings such as sadness, hurt, anger, disappointment, loneliness, etc.

Sometimes, family can be the root cause of self-esteem difficulties. For example, when a child feels as though their parent is being particularly critical or hard on them, this child may experience low self-esteem. This can even be true with adult children, if the relationship remains unhealthy into adulthood. If this is true for you, it may be beneficial to seek professional help through the aid of a therapist or counselor. This is an issue that can be addressed so that you can live with a healthier image of yourself. No one deserves to feel unloved or as though the world is against them.

Her actions feel unloving

You might not be able to think of anything specific that causes you to believe as though your mother hates you. It could be that you haven’t felt your mother’s love for a long time, possibly due to words and actions that would indicate she no longer cares for you. Perhaps your mom went through personal mental health-related concerns when you were a child. In such cases, people can sometimes unfairly take out their negative emotions on their children. The emotional pain that her actions or words caused may leave you wondering whether she meant the things she said in the past.

When you know how you want to be loved, you can more effectively talk to your mom about how you are feeling and come up with solutions to improve things. If you know she is too hard on you, you can express that to her and ask her to be more sensitive. Remind her that not everyone appreciates tough love and that it can have real implications. Work to set boundaries, and consider seeing a counselor or therapist together so that you can communicate more effectively.


No quality time together

Alternatively, you may feel like your mom hates you because you don’t spend enough quality time together. We live in a very busy world, and everyone handles their time differently. Also, many households today have both parents working full-time jobs, often leaving very little time to spend with their kids in the midst of busy schedules. So, your mom could be trying to juggle a lot of things at once. It can be helpful to consider your mother’s feelings as well, and ask whether she has been struggling lately. Parental burnout is a common problem, and it would be easy to misconstrue burnout for hate. 

You may feel bad when she chooses to do another activity instead of spending her free time with you. It is okay to feel this way. It may also be helpful to consider the idea that your mom may also want to spend more time with you, but hasn’t been able to.

She doesn’t know how you feel

Have you told your mom how you feel? If not, then she may not realize how her actions impact your well-being. Find a calm time to have a serious conversation with her, when she is not in a rush or trying to take care of one of your siblings, for example. 

Be prepared to be assertive when you two sit down; you may need to explain clearly how you are feeling so she fully understands, which can feel unpleasant. This can be difficult to do if your emotions have not always been well received, but your courage, honesty, and independence will likely be appreciated by your mom. She may even talk about her own struggles, which might be able to explain some of her behavior. 

When you two sit down, you can tell her how you feel when she doesn’t spend time with you. You can explain that you feel left out, lonely, or forgotten about, and then let her know that you would like to spend more time together or spend your time together more constructively. Consider coming up with ideas together and making room in your schedules for quality time. For example, you might offer to help with some of the household responsibilities so she’ll have more free time. 

When you do this, you can strengthen your relationship with your mother and develop a closer bond.  

She is overly critical of you

Another reason you may sense that a parent hates you is that she says or does things that are unnecessarily negative or critical toward you.  Whether your mother’s behavior is intentional or not, that type of harsh criticism can make for a strained relationship or have negative consequences for you as well.

Consider bringing the issue to her attention and asking her to be gentler with you. If she has feedback about your behavior, ask if she would be willing to give it kindly, sensitively, and with consent. If your mom has trouble changing this pattern, you might be able to make a plan together with a licensed professional. A therapist or counselor may be able to guide you toward a healthier relationship with your mother. 

Ignoring how you feel can make the issue worse

Many times, people ignore their emotions because they assume their feelings aren’t “right” or valid, but this simply isn’t true. Your feelings deserve to be heard, and you deserve to feel loved. Instead of just ignoring it and hoping things improve, it could be time to let your mom know how you are feeling. 

Talking to a therapist can help you understand and process your feelings and learn how to communicate in an effective way. A therapist can even talk with you and your mom in the same session if this is something you’re willing to consider. You can even use online therapy if you don’t have the opportunity to meet with a counselor or a way to get to a therapist’s office. This may be the most effective solution if you don’t feel comfortable talking about your feelings with your mom directly.

Trouble at home can affect your mental health

My mom hates me: Violence and abuse

Though most moms mean well, toxic mothers do exist. If your mom is abusive and actually says she hates you on a regular basis, please reach out for help. If possible, talk to a teacher, counselor, or other trusted person in your life about this toxic relationship, and let them know exactly what is going on at home. It’s important for you to remember that abuse is never your fault, and a toxic mother telling a kid that they hate them is a form of abuse.

If you are being physically or mentally hurt by your mother, tell someone. Tell someone at school, or, if you are not in school, tell another trusted person in your life, find a medical or mental health professional, or reach out to a hotline or treatment center.

Please reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800.799.SAFE (7233) if you or someone you know is affected by abuse. The hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


If you think your mother hates you, the resulting emotional turmoil can be intense. There are a few things you can try to lessen this load. For example, medically reviewed articles show that deep breathing has been shown to lower anxiety and improve cognitive function. You might be surprised by how much this technique helps you!

Another thing you can try is taking a break. Sometimes, walking away from toxic relationships, or any situation, is the best way to gain clarity. If your thoughts are shrouded by doubt, take a moment away to clear your head. Then you can come back to the situation and deal with it.

Finally, getting a different perspective can make a big difference. When we are too close to a problem, it can be hard to see potential solutions, but an outsider can often help. A licensed counselor or therapist is a great tool to have in your pocket. They can also help you deal with toxic parents, build your reserve of coping skills, and prepare for high-stress moments if needed.

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