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Is my mom emotionally abusive?

My mom and I have always kind of had a strange relationship. She's never been as loving and supportive as I'd like (she doesn't care for my personal life/helping me with my problems and she doesn't encourage me in anything) and she can be very very mean. She's not always mean, but when she is its pretty awful (examples to come). I've been curious as to whether or not she is being emotionally abusive and I don't feel comfortable labeling her as emotionally abusive myself

I remember when I was a little kid my mom and I would argue a lot and get into bad fights. I remember her mocking me while id cry (still does) and I remember her threatening to break my arm one time when I was ten just because I didn't want to take a shower. Whenever I'd accidently knock something over or make a mess by mistake she would always wind up screaming me and clean up the mess herself and complain about having to always clean up after me and how i never help with anything, but not letting me clean up my own mess, even if I insisted.

A few weeks ago my mom was acting pretty badly, cursing me out for putting the wrong city into our GPS before we had to go somewhere, etc. my mom was kind of stressed out already so I asked her to please stop taking her stress out on me and she went into how she's not stressed about anything, and the problem is all me, and how she "chose wrong" when she chose to marry my dad and have me with him. She told me I don't help anger at all and I'm always messing up and being defiant and I suck. The next morning she woke me up to let my dog out and I said he didn't need to go out yet and she told me that she hopes the dog pees on me. Later on that day she was acting normal again and, as always, she never brought it up or apologized. Like a few months earlier we had gotten into an argument and she told my dad she hopes I kill myself with the razors in the bathroom and made sure I could hear it, and she never brought that up and apologized either.

Recently my mom got mad at me while I was driving because of a mistake at a four way intersection I made and she slapped my head while I was driving. This was upsetting to me. So I decided to ask her if she really thinks its okay to hit me while I'm driving, because I remember as a kid when I would touch my mom while she's driving she would tell me never to touch the driver while they're driving because they could get scared and get into an accident. While I was asking her that and explaining it was a safety hazard she told me to "stop talking back" and basically wouldn't hear me out which sucked and was also upsetting. I don't think it was okay to slap me in the first place or scold me for trying to call her out on something hypocritical and wrong she did. My mom basically does this with everything else, so telling her how she makes me feel or calling her out is a no go, it's always "talking back" if I do.

My mom can be nice to me but when she's mean she's really mean and I want opinions based on these examples I want to know if this is emotional abuse. I suppose I feel it is important to add that I have a tendency to fall into emotionally abusive relationships with women and I tend to let people mistreat me unintentionally which I know might be caused by my relationship with my mother. I have severe anxiety and as you can probably guess she definitely worsens it
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replied July 14th, 2013
Extremely eHealthy
Hello,

I am wondering if your mother treats everyone that way?
You gave no indication whether she is just downright cranky or whether she singles you out for "special" treatment.

Certainly her treatment of you amounts to something that could be termed emotional abuse though you are clearly quite timid and your self-confessed anxiety might be clouding your analysis of her treatment of you somewhat. She certainly seems to be turning you into a serial victim.

I think the big question is what motivates her to be the way she is with you?

She could have a huge chip on her shoulder; perhaps she treats you in an ill-mannered way as her personal emotional punch-bag because she feels you ruined her life - perhaps pregnancy wasn't part of her plan or perhaps marriage to your father wasn't part of her plan but pregnancy "forced" her into it.

Perhaps she is disappointed you do make rather too many mistakes and she is trying to make you do better. Lots of people are incapable of teaching except by being nasty. Encouragement and kindness are unknown to them, probably because that is the way they were brought up and educated themselves.

I think you have lots of things yet to discover about your mother, her history and upbringing and her relationship with your father. She might be punishing your father by proxy with her treatment of you.
You have lots of questions to ask.

I feel it isn't important at this stage whether you are suffering abuse or not but it is important to try and discover and understand what drives your mother to be the way she is.
Discovering her secret might motivate her to change her behaviour and attitude a little.

I think if she had any real respect for you as a person she would treat you with more courtesy and be better-mannered. She is perhaps naturally driven to be disrespectful of people she instinctively sees as weak and ineffectual and none-assertive or none-threatening. Some people do have a predatory nature and are instinctively drawn to be nasty to those personalities who would rather avoid conflict.

Before it is too late you need to get yourself some assertiveness training. This isn't as daunting as it sounds. It is learning to play-act in a certain way until it becomes part of your character.
As you have already almost become a serial victim, simply escaping or getting away from your mother won't necessarily help you. I feel you must first fight your dragon in her own lair in order to realise such dominating people generally aren't strong and brave but really are weak and afraid. Lots of nasty people are simply covering up or hiding feelings like somebody "whistling in the dark".

If you need to discuss things further as you gather information then please post again or send a personal message.

Good luck!
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