How Do I Deal with My Toxic Mother?

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From a young woman in Macedonia: Hello. I would like to ask you how to deal with my mother who is always negative. First of all I must say that she is a good person and would never hurt me. However she has always been a very negative person which affects me really bad. Since I was a child,she has always been crying about her small health, financial and any other issue she would have. I’ve always lived in fear that something bad will happen,that she will die,that we are destined to be an unhappy family and I’ve never been happy in my home.

The first words I hear every morning must be her bragging or crying about something, its a very bad start of the day to see your mother unhappy but this is an everyday thing for me. She continues this during the whole day and even if someone says something positive she always has something negative to find. She is always crying,screaming to us,bragging how everything is horrible.When I try to talk to her about this,and tell her that this affects me really bad in every field of my life, she starts making drama and bragging to my father that I want to control her and that I am bad to her. Even though I only say to her that I want her to be more positive just because it will make us all happier, she tells me that I am mean,bad and horrible person who doesn’t respect her.

I feel very depressed because of this, she has made me think that things can never be good,never improve,there must be something bad in everything,that I am bad just because I don’t want to see her unhappy and bragging everyday…

If I tell her that I can’t listen to this everyday she tells me to go and live on my own than.I am only 20 years old student who can’t live on my own.I strongly believe that everything is energy, and wonder how to have a good positive attitude and life when I have such a bad energy coming from the most important person in my life.I must say that this affects my mental health really bad, I don’t want to wake up in the morning because I don’t want to listen to her , I hate my home, I am depressed and I am becoming negative on my own. I am very jealous to every happy family.

Answered by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker on 2019-01-13 – Link

It sounds to me like your mother is profoundly depressed. She is looking at the world through a filter of negativity and despair. There’s a saying that every cloud has a silver lining. But for your mother, if someone gives her a silver lining, she immediately puts a cloud around it. It is a sad way to live, especially since it is so advanced that she can’t even let the love of a caring family help her change it.

You didn’t mention whether your father shares your concern. I certainly hope so. As a daughter, there is very little you can do to change your mom’s attitude. But your father may be able to encourage her to get into treatment with a mental health professional.

It is not healthy for you to deal with this constantly. Since you can’t yet make a home of your own, you need to find ways to “leave” without physically leaving. Leave for school early. Get involved with school activities or a part time job that keeps you out of the house as much as possible. Find other young people who are doing positive things through volunteer work or an activity you enjoy. Spending time with them will help balance out the negativity of your mother.

Don’t argue with your mother about her attitude. You can’t change her. She will only change if she decides to get the treatment she needs. All you can do is let her know that you love her — which is a lot.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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