Why Do I Hate My Mother? Build A Better Relationship With Mom

Updated October 4, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Almost everyone has said at one time or another that they hate someone in their family. Those who say this rarely mean what they say, and they are usually just mad at their relatives at the time. 

Hate for one’s mother specifically can begin at different stages of life. It can happen during childhood, adolescence, or adulthood. There is a common misconception that hates for one’s mother is something that always happens in childhood. Granted, there are many cases and scenarios where people who have grown to hate their mothers began doing so when they were young children or teenagers and it lasted their whole life. However, there are other situations where hate towards your mother began in adulthood. More often, the latter cases occur due to actions or behavioral patterns. There is no one answer, but there are a plethora of variables and contributing factors, and it can be beneficial to explore the cause of these emotions through online therapy.

Don't Carry The Hatred You May Feel For Your Mother Around With You

Of course, some blame their mothers for something that is not their fault or for honest mistakes. But most of the time, if people hate someone else (especially a parent), there is a logical reason such as them being a toxic parent. Very often, the hate is because of abuse (physical, mental, or sexual), addiction, conflict, or because their mother left them when they were young kids. Whatever the reason, if you are feeling hatred for your mother, there must be an explanation.

Are My Feelings About My Mother Valid?

The short answer is: yes. Your feelings are valid whether or not others agree with them. Many people believe that family is everything and that no one has the right to hate their parents. In a perfect world, this would be true, but this romantic fantasy doesn’t mesh with reality - simply giving birth to someone doesn’t entitle anyone to a healthy relationship, and conversely, no one needs to feel obligated to have respect and unconditional love for someone just because they are related.

If you feel you’ve been wronged, hurt, or treated badly by someone, it’s natural to have feelings of hatred, anger, or animosity towards them. After all, this is a lived experience. Unfortunately, parental-child relationships can be damaged so severely through trauma, but it happens. Never feel guilty or ashamed of how you feel; always be willing to acknowledge and accept your feelings regardless of how uncomfortable they may be.

The emotions that you have can help you learn and prevent yourself from getting hurt in the future. Most commonly, hatred toward mothers or siblings is a mental way of shielding yourself from further despair. While you may carry some guilt surrounding this, it is natural to experience these negative and even hateful feelings, and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling anger. The first step to moving past these feelings is to take a shot at understanding them.

Don't Let The Hate Towards Your Mother Ruin Important Relationships

It is important to your mental health to confront these feelings and learn to cope with them. Harboring the hatred and allowing yourself to feel that way every time you think about your mother can affect your relationships with others. This includes relationships with your children if you have any. This does not mean that you have to forgive or accept your mother and build a relationship with her. It just means that you should find out why you feel this way and let it go, so you are not carrying that anger around with you all the time.

Many people underestimate the impact anger and hatred towards one individual can have on their relationships with others. You see, hatred is an inherently insidious entity. It festers, grows, and manifests. Someone who holds onto anger may end up lashing out at others and have trouble maintaining healthy relationships.

What Can You Do To Get Over These Feelings Of Hate?

Not everyone will be able to overcome these feelings in the same way, but there are a few things you can try to move past these emotions and achieve more independence regarding your mental health. Keep in mind not everything will work for everyone; these suggestions are intended to be starting points you can try.

Self-Reflect And Find The Reason For This Hatred. We have already discussed the importance of finding the root cause of your feelings towards your mom. Take a moment to self-reflect, maybe even commit to journaling about your feelings, and answer some important questions.

Was it something she did? Did she hurt you? Did you feel neglected, abused, or abandoned? Has there been a misunderstanding or miscommunication? Is the issue something else? Did you try to set boundaries and she didn’t respect them? All of these questions can help kick start your discovery of the cause of these feelings. Putting your feelings into words may give you a better ability to connect with how you’re feeling and how to better cope with your emotions.

Forgive Your Mother. Forgiving your mother is a great step toward getting over the feelings you’re experiencing. Don’t expect it to be a quick and easy process—it is important to understand that forgiving someone has no timeline. It might take a long time to truly forgive. We’re human beings with emotions, and time should take its course. And that’s okay. It’s also important to know what forgiveness is and what it isn’t to help move forward. Forgiveness is a choice, and “forgiveness” can be difficult to define and could very well mean different things to different people, along with varying degrees of what forgiving entails. It can fall into a sort of gray area. Be sure to be in a safe space emotionally as you begin on the road toward forgiveness.

Forgiveness is not:

  • Forgetting or pretending the offense didn’t happen. Maybe you remember your mother being extra tough on you because you kept forgetting to turn in your school work promptly or because you were substandard with your assignments and weren’t getting good grades, according to your mother. It may appear to be a minimal offense to some, but what matters is how you feel now about the offense. It was an offense, and it should not be merely stuffed down in your emotional luggage as if it didn’t happen or wasn’t all that bad.
  • Excusing the offense. Forgiving your mother because of the wrong that was committed is not the same as excusing the offense. Forgiving and excusing are two very different things. You might hear from her side of the family how tragic her childhood was, and that her being a victim is what caused her to treat you badly. That doesn’t excuse her bad parenting.
  • Give your mother permission to continue in her hurtful and harmful behaviors. Forgiveness is supposed to release the burden off of your shoulders, not hers. It is giving yourself permission to move forward and begin to heal. Even if your mother has a personality disorder diagnosis that is causing the abuse or offenses, having a personality disorder should not be a reason to allow her to continue in her ways. If she doesn’t get treated for mental health issues, that is not your problem either. It’s better to go to a therapist to find a treatment for her disorder. Many types of therapy can help.
  • Condoning your mother’s behavior for what happened in the past or what might happen again in the future. Similar to not giving your mother permission to continue her hurtful behaviors, we also don’t want to condone her toxic behavior as okay for what happened or acceptable ever to happen again. You may not know the circumstances leading up to her actions. Maybe her father was abusive to her. Maybe her father still doesn’t want anything to do with her, and she feels hurt and abandoned as a daughter and is taking out the anger on you. Maybe her mother was emotionally abusive toward your mother, and now she’s repeating that pattern by being emotionally abusive toward you. Or maybe her mother gave your mother a less than ideal childhood, and there’s a grudge going on. It’s possible your mother was a good mother at one time, but then your mother turned into someone quite different because of her childhood or marriage. Maybe your mother experienced the loss of a parent. No matter what, you can feel empathy for her without condoning all her behavior.
  • Forgiving your mother does not mean that everything is fine and that you’ll both go back and start over as if nothing ever happened. It may have been a long time since the flaws and behavior occurred. This can be dangerous as it could turn into enabling, which generally describes someone whose behavior allows a loved one to continue self-destructive patterns. We have to set boundaries and make separate and personal decisions about whether to reconcile with the person who offended us or whether to limit contact. There might be a lack of boundaries that needs to be fortified as you move forward and heal yourself.

Forgiveness is as much, if not more, for the forgiver (you) as the forgiven (your mother). It can be a form of self-care. Releasing the emotions surrounding her offenses that require forgiveness allows for healing and moving forward – with or without the offending party knowing about it or offering it. Even if a person lost a parent before, letting them know they were forgiven makes no difference. Your mother’s reply toward your forgiveness should not make a difference. We have no control over how the other person will react anyway, but we do have control over our feelings, including the release of forgiveness.

The Negative Effects Of Not Forgiving Your Parent

One study reflects that while negative emotions and unforgiveness increased stress response and sweat production, forgiveness, including self-forgiveness, lowered blood pressure, and relaxed facial muscles. It further states that chronic unforgiveness may erode health, whereas forgiveness may enhance it. Some risks of unforgiveness are:

Chronic Stress Response. Apart from causing severe diseases like cardiovascular issues and high blood pressure, chronic stress can even cause a brain hemorrhage. Chronic stress results in continuous high levels of cortisol and other stress hormones. This can cause retention of salt, which can increase blood pressure. Over time, this can cause stress on blood vessels, resulting in a stroke or bleeding.

Don't Carry The Hatred You May Feel For Your Mother Around With You

Eating Disorders. Not addressing the root cause and emotional pain can turn into going to food to cope or to mask the symptoms and pain.

Depression Or Anxiety. Unforgiveness, stuffed down in the psyche, can cause negative emotions such as fear, pain, hurt, jealousy, sadness, resentment, and anger. This can, in turn, trigger symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Anger And Bitterness. Being hurt by someone, especially someone close to you like your mother, can cause anger, sadness, and confusion. If you dwell on hurtful events or situations, grudges filled with resentment, vengeance, and hostility can take root; and if you allow anger and negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find have a hard time letting go and you may find yourself drowning in your bitterness or resentment.

Loss Of Valuable Relationships. Many special relationships have been torn or destroyed by one or more people because of holding on to grudges and refusing to forgive. Families are at risk of being divided, children can be negatively affected by angry and unforgiving separated parents, and lifelong friendships can be destroyed over a refusal to forgive. Risking parental alienation, whether physically or emotionally, is not worth it. Maybe over time, she’ll return to the close, best friend of a mother you used to have.

The Positive Effects Of Forgiving You And Your Parent

Mental Health. Letting go and offering yourself self-forgiveness can help boost your feelings of wellness and improve your self-image. Practicing self-forgiveness results in experiencing lower levels of depression and anxiety, and self-compassion is associated with higher levels of success, self-esteem, productivity, focus, and concentration. Even though mental health is often improved through self-forgiveness, seeking a therapist to find treatment and other self-care strategies might be beneficial to help you accept and work through your issues. Many different types of therapy could help.

Physical Health. People who forgive themselves often experience more energy, and better physical health and are less likely to experience negative physical health symptoms.

Healthy Relationships. Having a compassionate and forgiving attitude toward yourself is a critical component of successful social relationships. Being able to forge close emotional bonds with other people is important, but so is the ability to repair those bonds when they become fraught or damaged. Life is too short to hold on to grudges and spend time resenting others, and you might find out that the other person is just as willing and wants to forgive as well. Keep in mind that extending the olive branch is strength, not weakness.

Reduced Repeat Offenses. It’s a win-win situation. We’re not only reaching out and asking forgiveness from those we’ve offended, but through forgiving ourselves, we’re decreasing our chances of repeating the same offense ourselves. Self-reflection and accountability go a long way in understanding how our anger and behavior could affect others. Therefore, through awareness, we are probably less apt to repeat our negative behaviors.

Lifting the Burden. Putting a heavy (or even light) burden on yourself for too long can be emotionally and physically excruciating. Drop the burden. It’s not yours to carry.

Dropping Guilt and Shame. Guilt and shame are no longer a part of you. You’ve identified what happened, took accountability, and now you’re ready to move on and leave this field of guilt and shame behind. You’re now replacing negative, defeating comments about yourself with new comments – loving and uplifting ones. The only thing looking back will pull you back down into guilt and shame. Guilt, shame, or any other negative and self-defeating feelings have no place in your new life!

Forgive Yourself. The same basic rules apply when forgiving yourself, as with the steps to forgive others. Self-forgiveness is not about letting yourself off the hook, just like forgiving others is not letting them off the hook. Whether you forgive yourself or someone who has wronged you, the act of forgiveness does not suggest that you are condoning the behavior. It means that you accept the behavior, accept what has happened, and are willing to move past it and move on with your life without ruminating over past events that cannot be changed.

The great news is that qualities of self-forgiveness can be the key to equally healing and therapeutic recovery. Allow yourself to feel free to let the burden go! For instance, maybe you decided to leave home in your early 20s and decided to completely cut ties with your parents, move in with a best friend, and create a new and different family life as a couple with a partner. And suppose your decision to leave was over a seemingly benign and innocuous reason like the difference in religious belief or your take on business or world politics. And maybe now you regret the childhood family life you deserted. Forgive your mother and yourself. Look for a therapist to find treatment for yourself as you begin your journey of forgiveness. The day is coming when the feelings of hurt and anguish will begin to subside.

Should You Reconnect With Your Mother? In all honesty, reaching out to your mother or woman mother-figure to reconnect and address how you feel may or may not be the best solution. It all depends on you, your situation, and the reasons why you feel hatred. Moreover, if you are interested in reconnecting with your mom to rid yourself of hatred or resolve the issue, you should have figured out why you hate your mom beforehand.

Reconnecting with your mom before you are in a good place can open up old wounds and make a bad situation even worse than it already is. Being aware and alert is imperative if you’re serious about reconnecting with your mom. Additionally, it is a good idea to set boundaries with your mom if you do reconnect with her. This can help prevent more problems from forming.

Why You Should Let It Go. Hatred can make you bitter and make you emotionally exhausted. Even if you still hate your mother, you have to figure out why, so you do not blame yourself. Getting to the bottom of an issue always proves to be helpful. If you don’t let go of hatred, it will consume you and seep into other areas of your life. This changes a person.

Unfortunately, this is something that far too many people have fallen victim to. There is a common belief that hatred is more harmful to the individual experiencing it than directed towards it. Although hatred can urge people to act violently or otherwise lash out in some capacity, they still have to live with what’s inside them at the end of the day. Essentially, holding onto hatred for each other is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. The only way to free yourself is to let it go and break the cycle.

How BetterHelp Can Help

While the steps above can be helpful, you will often need to seek help outside of yourself to move in and begin to heal from the feelings that come from bad relationships of any kind.

You can make an appointment with a psychiatrist, psychologist, or therapist; however, like most populations, you do not have the time to drive to weekly sixty-minute meetings to talk about your mother. Fortunately, there are now alternatives to traditional appointments, such as video conferences, online meetings, phone calls, or even texting with therapists. BetterHelp is a platform that provides these services and can match you with the perfect counselor for you. If you are considering BetterHelp, but are still unsure, you can read some reviews of BetterHelp’s counselors below from people experiencing similar issues.

BetterHelp Therapist Reviews

“Erin has been incredibly helpful to me as I navigate a tough situation with my family. She’s understanding and compassionate and non-judgmental.”

“Mary Smith is very thoughtful and a great listener. I can tell she has a lot of experience dealing with many situations and people, which gives me comfort. She always stays on track with my concerns and goals and always offers relevant suggestions and tools to help me to conquer issues. I recommend Mary Smith to anyone who feels stuck in their toxic ways formed by difficult past experiences but wants to overcome them. I believe Mary has the skills to help someone who wants to change for the better.”

Conclusion

If you feel you can’t let your hatred for your mother go, therapy can help. Dealing with the underlying issues can make a world of difference in your life. Getting help through reading a publication, self-care, or reaching out to other humans can have positive consequences and allow you to live a life in harmony with your mother, or without her, if that’s the healthiest and best option for you. A licensed professional can help you figure it out with a therapy style that gets to the source of the pain. For more tips, information, and facts about family conflict and resolution, take the first step with therapy today.

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