It hurts when our moms are angry with us. Here’s why it seems like your mom hates you, why your feelings aren’t wrong, and how to repair your relationship.
When we were little, we relied on our moms for just about everything. Moms were our source of food, comfort, protection, and love. They became our greatest teachers, showing us how to act, what to say, and even how to feel about ourselves.
As we grow older, we become less dependent upon our moms for our physical needs like food and protection, but on an emotional level, we look to our mothers for love and support through our teenage years and into adulthood.
As children, when we fell down and scraped our knee, we ran to our mothers and they comforted us, kissed the boo-boo, and held us as we cried. On the other hand, if we wandered off alone into a parking lot, Mom might become angry and yell at us. Even if we didn’t understand why it wasn’t OK to wander off, we stopped doing it because we felt bad when Mom didn’t approve of us.
When Mom felt good, we felt good, and when Mom felt bad, we felt bad.
This emotional dependence upon our mothers is often called “approval seeking”, and although it serves us well during our childhood years, our desire for Mom to approve of everything we do can become a source of pain as we become independent in other areas of our lives. I’ve never met a teenager who hasn’t fought with their mother or wanted to do things that their mothers wouldn’t allow them to.
It doesn’t feel good when we disagree with our moms – in fact, it can hurt a lot. Remember what we did when we were children when we were in pain? We ran to our mothers and they comforted us, showed us love, and told us everything was going to be OK. When we experience conflict with our mothers, however, that source of love we learned would always be there for us isn’t there anymore.
The opposite of love is hate, and when our mothers are angry with us, the lack of love can feel like hate, and hate is often a mask for fear.
You’re Not Wrong
I wrote this article to help you understand that you’re not wrong for feeling the way you do and to provide some insight into why it might seem like your mom hates you. It’s much easier to diffuse a conflict when you have a deeper understanding of what you’re really fighting about.
You didn’t cause the your mother’s anger and it’s not your responsibility to fix it, but there are certain things you can do to make your life easier during difficult times and to help your mom understand that you’re not the enemy.
It’s Not Hate: It’s Fear
As much as we might want them to be perfect, part of growing up is realizing that moms are just regular people who experience the same emotions as the rest of us. When a child wanders into a parking lot, Mom isn’t angry with us because she hates us, but rather because she’s afraid we might get hurt.
When your mom is angry, even if it seems like she hates you, she’s actually just afraid. Our mothers are used to having to protect us from the outside world, and letting go of that need to protect and control can be very difficult for them. Maybe she’s afraid for your safety or of losing you to someone else, but whatever it is, hate is only a mask for fear. Try to see through her anger to the scared child underneath.
If you feel attacked, realize that she is only attacking you because she doesn’t know a better way to express her fear and that she’s trying to protect you by controlling your actions. Fear never feels good, and your mom is angry because she thinks that you are causing her to be afraid. She doesn’t realize that every person’s fear comes from their own thinking, and you could never make her afraid. Try not to take what she says personally, because fear and pain can lead us to believe and say things that aren’t true.
We Need Other Sources Of Love
As children, we rely on our moms to be our primary sources of love, but as we grow older, it’s important to have a support network of trusted friends or family members for those times Mom isn’t emotionally available to help us out.
It’s helpful to look for people who aren’t emotionally connected to our moms for support, because people who are too close to the situation can bring pre-conceived notions and judgments to the table. A trusted teacher, relative, or friend’s parent might be the right person to go to. You can always start the conversation by saying, “Hey, I was wondering if it would be OK for me to ask your advice about this situation I’m having with my mom.”
Trust your gut, and make sure your confidant is closed-mouthed and what you say won’t get back to your mother. Someone once said, “A problem shared is a problem halved.”
Listen Past Her Words
I suggest listening to what your mom has to say, not because you’re wrong, but because at a basic human level, everybody wants to be heard. Even if what mom is saying sounds unreasonable, give her the opportunity to say it. Try to listen to her emotions, not to her words. When you can start to perceive the immense amount of pain that is underneath the hate you perceive, it’s easier to show compassion and forgiveness.
Your Feelings Are Your Feelings
When we grow up, a lot of people show up in our lives who say to us, “You’re wrong.” Your feelings are yours alone, and no one should say you’re wrong for feeling a certain way. Try to keep that in mind when dealing with your mother, too. Your mom doesn’t like to feel angry, so instead of trying to tell her she’s wrong for feeling a certain way, try to look past her emotions and help her to understand her perspective.
Wrapping It Up
I hope this article has helped you gain insight into the source of conflict with your mom and helped to answer the question, “Why does my mom hate me?” I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences around this issue in the comments section below, and if you would like to learn more, Amazon sells a number of books about how to deal with mom. It’s a challenging subject, but I believe that by helping each other, we can all achieve a greater level of peace within our relationships.
All the best,
Photo Credit: Ava Lowery