How to Deal with An Emotionally Abusive Mother?

08 October, 2019
Q I'm a teenage girl and I live with my 2 brothers and my mom (my father and mother divorced when I was a child). I'm really struggling being able to stay sane and happy because of my mother. She's constantly emotionally abusing me as she has a very sharp tongue and short temper. She's always calling me: useless, stupid, good for nothing, and many more words that i just really can't bare hearing from own my mom.

There have been many instances where I have asked her something as simple as "can you make some lunch all the food finished," she would end up replying to me by saying something like "don't boss me around I'll make the food whenever I want to or feel like making it". She constantly reacts like this and when I try to nicely ask her if she would please stop calling me such names and talking so harshly towards all the time and rather than trying to understand where I'm coming from and say sorry she instead EVERY time she tries to end the conversation as soon as possible by saying that her head hurts or "stop talking to me right now I'm tired go away" and says that this is why she hates talking to me.

At this point I've put in so much effort to try and not get not talk back to her whenever she ends up really getting angry/shouting at me for the tiniest things (like not returning her calls) or misunderstanding the words I say (which at most times aren't harsh at all as I am a very soft spoken and non temperamental person) but my patience is really running out. Often times she says that I'm judging her and that I'm telling her that she's a terrible mom which is something that I would never ever say to my mother as I respect her very much because of how hard she works daily.

I'm quite the sensitive person and all of this behavior coming from my mom makes me insanely sad. I really don't know what to do at this point I don't know if I can take this any longer.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Get some kind of respite from this by staying with someone else, even if for a short time, then take the opportunity.

•Ask someone else who she may be more responsive to to step in and talk to her about her behaviour towards you.

•Respond to bad words with good words.

•Keep yourself busy in the home that she doesn’t have much of an opportunity to say anything bad to you.

•Invite her to do something with you that you like doing.

•Continue to pray for her. Ask Allah to guide her and soften her heart.


Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh sister,

This is a very difficult situation to be in. Of course, as your mom you must respect her, however, she also needs to respect you too and to be abusing you emotionally like this is not respectful at all. Just because she is you mom and you love and respect her it does not give her the right to treat you badly back. It is simply not acceptable.

Take a break

As it sounds like you really have reached the end of your tether with this I would first suggest that if there is anyway you can get some kind of respite from this by staying with someone else, even if for a short time, then take the opportunity. It would be good for you both.

As her daughter you are an easy target for her to vent her abusive ways and since you love her unconditionally she will continue to take advantage of this whether this is knowingly or unknowingly. Whether it is intentional or not, you need a break from this. If you have friends or family that you could stay with then this would be a good opportunity to do so. It will give you the space to have a break from her ways and just relax and be herself and it will also take you away from her so that she cannot make abusive remarks your way.

How to Deal with An Emotionally Abusive Mother? - About Islam

For the time you are away she will have to find alternative ways to manage her emotions. If possible for you to stay away for a more extended period then she really will have to find a way to manage herself in a way that will become more a matter of habit than something she will turn back to when you return. Alternatively, if staying away for a longer period of time is not possible, just taking regular breaks away, even if for a weekend only will be helpful too.

Someone present who will support you

Also, since she is not responding kindly to you perhaps you could ask someone else who she may be more responsive to to step in and talk to her about her behaviour towards you. If this might be too direct then perhaps you could do it in such a way that the person is witness to it first before they intervene based on have actually witnessed her abuse towards you.

This may not be something that happens in a single visit. Perhaps you could always be making sure that there is someone with you when she’s around. This way perhaps she will be less likely to use bad words in the presence of others, but you will also feel direct support from someone being there so you do not have to endure it alone knowing that there is someone present who will support you and stand up for you should she utter bad words.

Act kindly with her

During the times that you are alone with her try different ways to manage her behaviour. Respond to bad words with good words. After all, it’s not easy to be mean to someone if they’re only being kind to you. Keep yourself busy in the home that she doesn’t have much of an opportunity to say anything bad to you. If she ever says something good, reinforce it by keeping the conversation going. Or, if it’s quiet, utilize the opportunity to start a positive conversation before she can even start saying something bad.

Go beyond conversation do something together. Initiate it yourself and invite her to do something with you that you like doing especially if it is that her behaviour seems to be some kind of response to some emotional turmoil she might be going through herself. This act would show your respect for her but in a way that you have initiated rather than just trying to respond respectfully in a time when it is more difficult due to her disrespect towards you.

Amongst all this continue to pray for her. Ask Allah to guide her and soften her heart and surely with your prayers and following some of the steps here He will guide her and make your path an easier one to tread.


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Aside from these approaches make sure to take care of yourself too. This situation is understandably getting you down, so make sure to bring yourself up again by doing the things you enjoy and being with people that make you feel happy and good about yourself.

Emotionally Abusive Mother

This will make it easier for you to deal with your mom’s behaviour more effectively and reinforce the fact the bad words she says about you are not true as others can prove otherwise. Make sure not to lose touch with these things along the way as it becomes so easy to do in difficult times, especially in the case of emotional abuse like this.

May Allah guide your mom on the straight path and fix your relationship with her. May He make things easier for you and bring you continued comfort in His remembrance.

We wish you the best,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Healing the Scars of My Mother’s Abuse

My Mother’s Abuse Makes Me Feel Suicidal

Removing The Scars of Parental Abuse