A woman standing alone at sunset

It is really common for difficult mothers to be emotionally absent, to ignore, belittle, or seem apparently unaware of your feelings, or need for a relationship with her.

What you learn is that her feelings are paramount, this may mean you need to please her, take care of her emotional ups and downs, agree with her even when you don’t want to, and walk on eggshells waiting for the next rejection.

Rejection usually occurs when you do or say something she dislikes, this may be because you are perceived to have challenged her authority, not put on the perfect image in front of her friends, not agreed with how she sees things, or not played the role she wants you to.

Rejection, ignoring, passive-aggressive behaviours, belittling, and shaming, become forms of coercive control. Mum brings you into line by pressuring you with one of these behaviours.

One of my clients recently put it like this ‘Every time I disagree she cries, I just feel so guilty I end up giving in. I then end up comforting her and making her feel better. It’s like I’m the parent and she’s the child.’

Can you see the pay off for Mum?

This rejecting behaviour keeps you close and compliant, your self-worth is eroded away and you feel unlovable. Relationships become about what you can do for others and not about being loved for who you are which has huge consequences.