Considering cutting ties with Mom


This is a long story…

I am 30 years old and my mother is 60. Ever since I can remember I have felt degraded by her on how I look and dress and more. I can remember how even when I was in high school how she wouldn’t let me leave the house without making sure I was dressed how she wanted. Mind you, I wasn’t dressed like a “bad girl” or anything like that. I can remember what she made me wear to school on 2/14/92: White tights with red “grandma ticking” striped shorts and a homemade valentine sweatshirt with puff paint and ribbons hot glued and streaming down and sneakers with puff painted hearts on them. I was mortified and change clothes with a girl who for some reason thought the outfit was cute. Of course, my mom ends up showing up at school and berates me for not wearing the clothes and not appreciating her.

Senior year, the day before the prom “Senior Layout Day.” My best friend came over to go shopping for prom shoes with my mom and me. This was back in the day when the “poet’s” blouse was in style. I was wearing black leggings with my white poet’s blouse and a crimson velvet vest. My mother refused to let me leave like that. She humiliates me in front of my best friend by dressing me in what she deems appropriate (mind you, I’m 17 yo at this point) and drive me (in tears) and my bf to the mall. It still hurts for me to even think about this today; I’m holding back tears as I type this…

The next year (1996) my mom comes into my work on a day after my boyfriend and I had a big fight. I was still depressed and didn’t feel like dressing up or putting on makeup that day; it was just K-mart, not like I was working anyplace wonderful. She berates me for my looks and informs me that she will not let my uncle (who was in her car and was from out of state and I hadn’t seen in a long time) come in to even see me since I looked that way.

After this I went out of town to a University, but when ever she happened to come she me she always spoke about how horrible I looked – like I was going to dress up for classes, especially when I would run a big risk of ruining them with ink or graphite (I was in the architecture school). I hated my major and dropped out for a couple of semesters and came back to study early childhood ed. – another think that mortified her since I would never make a six figure salary caring for children.

I ended up meeting a wonderful man who had a past. He was going through a divorce and had a small child. He also had juvenile diabetes. We ended up falling in love. Some time after his divorce we decided to move in together (I know, I know). Well, when I told my parents (oh, I forgot to mention that my parents are divorced), well, you know what hit the fan. My mother took me back home that weekend and screamed and cried all weekend long saying she blamed God for putting her through this. She took me to her Baptist church that Sunday where she and her preacher cornered me in his office and told me how this guy was only using me, that I’d be sorry, and on and on. OH, and he (this guy) was five years older than me.

Before we had moved in together, my uncle (the one I mentioned earlier) had gotten sick. My grandparents came and stayed with me for a few days while my uncle was in the University hospital. One evening when we were at my apartment (my grandparents, my boyfriend, and I) we got the phone call from the hospital saying to get there quick. My boyfriend drove all of us and stayed with my grandparents, but by the time we got there it was too late. We lost my uncle that night. My boyfriend was there for all of us during that time.

there is more…


We dated for four years. The entire time we were dating my mother kept trying to set me up with other men, she couldn’t understand that I was committed to my boyfriend. After four years he proposed. Our engagement was just shy of a year. Even during the planning of my wedding my mother was trying to set me up with other men – even the son of the man we got the wedding champagne from! Nothing to do with the wedding was about what I wanted (except the bagpiper, which my dad paid for). I had the dress she wanted for me (I only got to try on three before she made her decision). I had the church she wanted (the one I wanted “wasn’t in a good enough part of town”). The flowers, caterer, cake, bridesmaid dresses, photographer, everything… I wasn’t allowed a say in any of it. I still hate to look at my wedding pictures because I don’t want to think about that day. And I’m still holding back tears.

Anyway, I think I’ve given enough examples from growing up… The past couple of weeks have just about pushed me over the edge.

I always thought that the whole thing with my now husband and wedding and stuff was because we lived together. But now I don’t. My brother has been living with his girlfriend for over a year and a few weeks ago he proposed. My mom is so excited and wants to help his fiancé with the wedding planning, finding a dress, the whole bit. Ever since my brother started dating this girl (who I love, don’t get me wrong), my mom has treated her more like her daughter than me. Whenever my mom comes in town she, 95 % of the time, stays with them. She sometimes doesn’t even tell me when she comes in town. She will just come in town, do stuff with my brother’s girlfriend, spend the night with them, and go back home.

My daughter was baptized this past Sunday, so for the past couple of weeks my mom has been trying to find something for me to wear to the baptism since a) I apparently have nothing to wear that’s good enough and b) if I show up in a dress I’ve worn before it’s a guarantee that someone will have a stroke. I found a red flowered dress from Eddie Bauer which I bought, but she said was too frumpy, so she buys me two dresses – a black one (I told her before she bought it that I wouldn’t wear black to a baptism) and a brown one that was too long. Saturday she called to ask if I knew what I was wearing yet (no, I hadn’t really thought about it). So she says she’s going to bring some things by to see if they will do and “if all else fails” she could hem up the brown one. I told her no one would die if I wore a dress I’d worn before and she says that she just wants me to look nice for once, at which point I yelled, “Oh I know, because I look like **** all the time!” Then I hung up.:mad:

one more…

(edit to add: OH! that’s not the s- word!)


Fast forward to Sunday afternoon. Mom wants us to get photos done. She informs me that we have a 3:00 appointment and that we are going to be late. She goes ahead with my brother (sans girlfriend, who has gone out of state to her parents’ house). When we get there Mom is telling the photographer what photos she wants done – I could tell where it was going to lead. So I go over to my husband and tell him I think this is going to be the day that the straw breaks the camel’s back. As we are getting photos, the photographer starts to set us all up. She starts to bring in my husband and step-daughter when my mother informs her that she only wants “MY children and MY grandchildren” in the photo! I was sooo mad. My husband and I have been married for four year and have been together for a total of eight years. I have been in my step daughter’s life for over two-thirds of her life, yet my mother still excludes them. My husband can understand that she’ll never accept him, but to do that to a child!!!:banghead: And I know that she was hurt because she mentioned to DH how she guessed she wasn’t welcome in that photo. I think she knew we were all hurt by it because she finally said to get the two of them in a photo, which she didn’t order copies of. I didn’t order copies of it either. If she doesn’t want a photo with my family in it then I don’t want a photo with her in it.:mad:

I have put up with her hurting me for 30 years now, but I just can’t get over the way she has hurt my family.

I have been wanting to cut ties with her for so long. I have told DH that the only reason I have been speaking to year for the past three year (since my oldest daughter was born) is because I love my grandfather and don’t want to hurt him. He is 80 now and in not-so-good health. I just wonder if I should try to keep waiting until he passes to cut it off with her or if I should just go ahead and do it. I don’t know if I can risk her hurting us like this again.:crying:

I’m sorry this is so long. I just need to pour my heart out to someone. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


You don’t have to cut ties completely. Just don’t call her unless there is a purpose eg. mother’s day. When She becomes VERbally ABUSIVE as she has been, just leave. Say “Mom I love you very much, but I will not let you treat me like this.” Tell her when she is ready to act like a civilized human being you’ll be around her. She will get it quickly. This sounds like a mother living vicariously thru her Daughter. She probably thinks you are prettier or something.

Ihad a friend in high school like this…The mom was ALWAYS pushing her to date “good looking” guys, to diet EXCESSIVELY when she didn’t need to etc.

Put your mom in her place, she is destructive. Tell her to “know her role” and leave it at that. Avoid all opportunities for her to belittle you.


First of all, my heart goes out to you. You certainly don’t deserve this treatment and it is a shame that this relationship has to be filled with so much pain. But I want to give you some things to think about:

Mary bee is gives wise advice.

People who get cancer, lose their loving spouse or one of their children, or a myriad of other challenges that come with life don’t deserve it either. And when faced with it, we counsel them with the following: Offer it up to Christ and unite your suffering with His on the Cross, God isn’t asking you to handle anything that is beyond you with His help, and pray for the Wisdom to find God’s plan for you right now.

IMO, this is good advice to you. Your pain and suffering is as real as other pain we suffer “outside our control.” Find solace in our Lord and then ask for the wisdom, courage, and fortitude to do as God wants you to do. Maybe He wants you to cut off ties but maybe He wants you to bear this. In either case, He wants you to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ in either your words or example to your mother. He may have chosen YOU for her daughter for this particular time in your mother’s life because He knows you are the right person for the job.


Is your mother Marie Baronne? (from Everybody Loves Raymond fame).

You do have to respect your parents - and what I mean is you can do that from afar - way, way, afar. Don’t initiate first contact if you don’t have to.

What about this - Next time you are in one of those situations where she is just belittling you or your family, try the following question:

"Mom, do you love me?“
I pray she answers “yes, of course” - then you say
"When you belittle me, it hurts me. Please show your love by not criticizing me or my family ever again.”

My guess is - she will be speachless - and this is still being respectful - but does make your point known. Good luck and God Bless.


First I am sorry for what you have gone through. I think you should think hard and pray harder before cutting ties. Don’t forget that God says to honor your father and mother.
If you plan on quietly distancing yourself from her then I think that would be fine, but please think hard before causing a confrontation. She is unlikely to see the error of her ways this late in life.


We have similar situations, although I’m 13 years older than you and have thus “suffered” a bit longer. Maybe something I write here will help in some small way.

My parents were both alcoholics and did similar things to me while I was growing up. The list is extensive, but to name a few, they always showed preference for my brother and they constantly told me I was too heavy (TRANSLATION: It’s all about how you look!). Once I was married and had children, they did nothing to try and foster any kind of relationship with their own grandchildren…and we live in the same town. There are lots of other things, but you get the idea. I was about where you are as far as wanting to cut things off, but the commandment to honor my parents kept a hold on me. Believe me, that was the only thing that kept me from telling them I didn’t want to see them ever again. I also got some counseling at that time and was able to establish some boundaries that helped me when things got crazy. Probably the biggest help…and saddest moment…was accepting that my parents probably were not going to change. Once I had that revelation, I was able to quit reacting so much to all of the ways they hurt me. I quit letting them control my happiness.

Things got better after that, but my relationship with them was never what I hoped it would be. My dad had a stroke two years ago and I was suddenly thrust into a situation where that commandment came to the forefront again, as I HAD to be there as a support for my mom (and dad) even though I did not feel like it. To make matters worse, my mom was diagnosed with throat cancer a year ago. She died on June 16. I was with her a lot in those final weeks and almost constantly during her last four days. She suffered…a lot…and I can tell you that watching that was pure agony.

Although we grew closer during her last year, there are so many things about my mom that I still don’t understand…like why she held such pain and bitterness in her heart. But, one thing I DO understand is that death is a great equalizer and in those last days she lived everything she hated. I am so thankful that, in spite of her often nasty demeanor, we have a merciful God.

This experience has given me a new perspective on my mom. I came to realize that she was living completely in her own little world and far from reality. It’s sad that she let so many opportunities to love and be loved pass by with nary a thought. My hurt and pain turned into pity for her as I begged for God to end her suffering and bring her into His glory where she would finally understand what it means to love.

Don’t break ties with your mom. I know this hurts you and I’m sure you have said many prayers for her in hopes that she would change. Sometimes the relationships that SHOULD be the most meaningful to us are disappointing through no fault of our own. Pray for your mom…and pray for the words to say when she is so carelessly cruel…and then try even harder to be the daughter God wants you to be.

In Christ,


If this was a friend, would you let her do that? Just being mama doesn’t mean you have to take it. If she continues, tell her you have had enough and you don’t need to listen and then DON’T



**Oh hon, I have been and still am in your same shoes! I could type all day about it. I am turning 30 in a few weeks and have been enduring this since grade school. 2 older brothers have always been the ‘greatest’ and I have never measured up . It got so bad a couple of years ago that I straight told her what I thought of her and her parenting skills and it made her think, I know it did. Since then, she still favors them don’t get me wrong, but she tries to be nicer, I can tell. But as for the past, that is in the past, and it still hurts. I will PM you with the details in a nutshell of the worst I had to endure. Pray, pray, pray! That’s all the advice I have to give (oh and DO stand up to her when she disrespects you, you are not a doormat and shouldn’t be)…talk to you later, hang in there…:wink: **


I would say, for the sake of your grandfather for the time being, don’t cut ties completely but definitely not talk to her so much. And when she tries to tell you what to wear, just simply say, “i’m wearing ____” and hang up. Set boundaries like that…don’t let her be so pushy. She is verbally and emotionally abusive…manipulative and a control-freak…my heart goes out to you!!:frowning: After your grandfather passes away, I would never speak to her again…I would even consider moving away just so that she has less control. I will pray for you and your family!


Honey you are 30 years old you are allowed to sat “NO”. I have a mom who has always been critical. I picked out my wedding dress with a friend and I delayed having her see for as long as possible because I knew she would negative. (It was a beautiful dress in my opinion.) So finally I invite her to the last fitting, well she says the dress looks cheap, that its made with cheap lace.:mad: The dress was bought and paid for and already altered what was that supposed to accomplish. She says she was trying to be helpful. (Not that I would changed my mind on the dress anyway.)

The dress had a train but I was getting married in a wedding chapel (yes married outside the church at 18 years of age). So I didn’t want the train down because it was just too small of a space. I told my mother do not ask me to to let the train down for pictures. Well the first thing she does after the ceremony is ask me to let the train down for the the photographer. I simply said “No.” and ignored her. The reason my mom wanted the train down is to send the pics to out of state relatives -letting the train down would make it look more expensive. She’s all about appearances. SIxteen years into my marriage and she still brings it up.:rolleyes: Oh well.

You can say no. You’re a grown woman, she doesn’t get a say in what you wear. She does these things because you let her. Put a stop to it. If my mom came by with outfits she picked out because she didn’t like what I was wearing I would tell her “I hope you kept the receipt”. I would laugh at the fact that she thinks she can tell me what to wear as a grown woman. Good grief.:doh2:

The picture situation -I simply would have refused to participate if my husband and stepchild (if I had one) weren’t welcome.

You don’t need to cut her out but you certainly can do that. You need to grow a backbone woman (I say that with kindness). You are letting her treat you like a child and until you stand up for yourself and refuse to go along with her antics she will continue.

Good luck to you and God Bless.


Please get this book:
**[size=2]God Help Me! These People Are Driving Me Nuts[/size] **
by Gregory Popcak

It will help you develope healthy broundries with your mother. (Gregory Popcak is the founder of Pastoral Solutions Institute which a Catholic organization.)


Thank you, everyone for your advice. I really need it right now.:o


My husband’s father sounds a lot like your mother. He frequently visits my sister-in-law and doesn’t even tell us he is in town. He constantly gives us unsolicited advice and becomes angry and offended if we don’t follow his advice and says we don’t appreciate him or respect him, blah blah blah.

It’s all about control and manipulation. She controls and manipulates you because you allow her to. When you were a child you had no choice, but now you do. Set limits on what behavior is acceptable from your mother and stick to them. She will probably try many ways to get around those limits and she will push you harder for awhile, but if you are consistent and refuse to let her control you she will eventually get the message.

One of the annoying habits my father-in-law has is to make plans to have lunch with my sister-in-law. He will call us when he’s 1/2 hour away from the restaurant and say that he and my mother-in-law are in town and want to meet us for lunch. This used to make my husband so angry and stressed because he always agreed to meet them for lunch, so we would change our plans and rush to get there on time.

I finally told my husband that he could just say “No,” and explain that we had already made plans and that if they had given us more advance notice we would have been happy to meet them. The first time my husband did this my father-in-law tried to make him feel guilty, but my husband was so relieved at finally saying no to his Dad it didn’t bother him much. After six months or so of us saying no to his parents when they tried to force us to make last minute changes to our plans, they finally got the message. We now get at least 2 hours notice from them.:rolleyes: and we still frequently just say no.

We do not have as much contact with husband’s parents as my sister-in-law does and we frequently hear how we have shut his parents out of our lives and never tell them what we are doing, etc… Yet, if we do tell them about our lives all they do is criticize. But I can tell you this; we are MUCH happier since we stopped talking to them so much.

In my husband’s family his sister is obviously the favored child, yet she is the one who’s life is a disaster. She has trouble keeping jobs, she has legal problems, she has very few friends and is very dependent on my father-in-law for monetary and emotional support. My husband, on the other hand, has a good career, with a good income, and doesn’t rely on his parents for anything. In other words, my husband is not as easily controlled as my sister-in-law is.

You mentioned that your mother seems to prefer your brother’s girlfriend over you. I wonder if that is because she is more easily controlled than you are?


I wouldn’t cut ties with your mother… but I would learn to stand up and defend yourself against this destructive behavior. You have to learn how to say “NO”… and to defend your husband.

I’ve had lots of issues with my mother over the years, but one thing I’ve learned from my husband is how to defend myself. I will always treat her with love and care and concern, but I will not allow her to pull my strings like I’m her little puppet.

Cutting ties would only give her something to blame you for (and rightly so)… so you need to always keep yourself clean in your actions toward her.
But you do not have to be a doormat in order to be loving.

You’ll be in my prayers… I truly do sympathize…


I had a very similar problem with my mom and my MIL. Actually I have always had problems with my mom… (ask me about the hair thing sometime) very similar to your clothes thing. Anyway, when my first child was born, mom was treating my (now ex)husband like ****. I finally called her and told her not to bother coming out to see us when ds is born if she can’t treat the husband with respect. That of course brought on the, “I knew you would hurt us like this” poor pity me routine. Anyway, she shut her mouth about my husband and I let her see her first grandchild. That was 20 years ago.

Two years ago I remarried after being divorced for about 8 yrs. Mom actually liked dh, but he had a child from his first marriage… while she knew better than to say anything in front of me, both dh and I caught her making a horrible face behind the child’s back. We were just thankful that the child didn’t see.

So the first year… mom and MIL actually treated our kids about the same. Spending wise at Christmas and all… they spent just a little more on their natural grand children than the step, but not so much that the kids would notice. Then last year it all started… MIL wouldn’t come to my dd’s graduation or even send a card, but spent $300+ on my step dd’s birthday the next weekend! But the real issue was that I had specifically asked her not to buy that particular gift because it was the same thing one of my kids got as their “special” gift at Christmas and I never buy any other kid the same thing another child got as a special gift. So then other birthdays come and go and MIL doesn’t even send a card…

Christmas was pretty much hell… My mom had picked a fight with me in August and didn’t even call for dd, dh, or ds’s b-days. We called her for her b-day and made sure to say happy birthday. Then my brother came to visit just before Christmas and we decided to go halves on mom’s Christmas present. He was going there for Christmas so he just took it with him after we wrapped it. The day he got to her house, she ran out and got gift cards for my kids and sent each one a check and a gift card but only a small $25 card (MY KIDS GOT $100 CHECK AND $100 GIFT CARD) for the step dd. On the other hand, MIL sent the gift we sent her back with a poor-pity-me-my-children-all-hate-me letter. Sent nothing for the kids here but bought a whole bunch of stuff for step dd and called her mother to arrange to see her so we wouldn’t find out.

Dh and I have decided to handle it this way; as long as they don’t do anything blatant…like your mom did in front of the kids, we won’t take action. We also now have the kids open presents from grandmas without the steps there… step dd opens presents from g-ma when my kids not there and my kids open presents from their g-ma when step dd is not there. But if either one of the g-ma’s treat their grandchild differently than the steps we decided to say something and if it happens again, we leave. If this continues we won’t let the g-ma’s visit the children.

I too am sick of how steps get treated by grandparents. I told my mom that my step is just as much mine as my own kids and we don’t treat them any different. If she can’t handle it, she can’t see my kids either. It is hard enough to be the parent of a step, always waiting for the “You’re not my mom/dad” line. We work hard at treating all the kids as “ours” and we don’t need relatives sabotaging our efforts.


If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother! I have issues w/ my mom as well. My son’s first BDay party is coming up and I have dreaded my parents coming - not my dad so much, but my mom mostly. I always excuse her peculiar behavior reminding myself that the things I criticize in others are things I dislike about myself. I hate to think that she will monopolize the conversation and try to be the life of the party and make everyone like her the way she did at my baby shower.

In situations where she is embarrassing me and she won’t listen when I pull her aside and try to calm her down, I just relenquish all responsibillity for her and leave her to make a fool of herself. She doesn’t want to accept my ‘life preserver,’ then she can just drown herself by trying to overcompensate for her insecurities - I have decided that is all that her behavior means.

In your case, if you really think about it, when she berates you in front of other people, I could almost guarantee you that they would see that the problem lies w/ your mom and some unresolved issues of her own that has nothing to do w/ you. At least try to take some comfort in that and do not let yourself take responsibility for her behavior. This is the only way I get thru those embarrassing moments w/ my mother.

My girlfriend who is a grown young woman has an overbearing, overinvolved mother and when I think of what a wonderful person she is and how her mother treats her, it angers me, but at the same time I feel pity for her mother. My girlfriend has a clef pallet and lip and has been pretty deformed most of her life, but thru the gift of reconstructive surgery, she has come a long way. I think much of her mother’s attitude towards her is just disappointment in not having had a ‘perfect’ child even tho she is a wonderful compassionate human being! Another thing that solidifies my image of my girlfriend’s mom is that she goes beyond her means to keep up w/ her friends whose husbands are doctors.

Yes, I often struggle w/ the concept of ‘honoring’ my parents as God commands us. Right now I think the main thing that keeps me in line is setting an example for my son as to how he should treat us by seeing how my husband and I treat our parents. But in your case, I would say the best example you could set for your stepdaughter is to not let your mom push you around. I don’t mean to add to your stress, and it sounds like you have a wonderful husband who could keep things in line, but if your daughter sees you allowing your mom to push you around, she may take a que for how she will be allowed to treat you. I know it may not be your husband’s place, and you’d have to ask him how he feels about it, but he should feel free to defend the woman he loves. If your mom won’t take you seriously, maybe she’ll listen to your husband, or even your daughter. I can’t think of much more that makes you stop and take stock of yourself than being called out by a young child!

I will pray for you to have the patience and courage and fortitude to do what is necessary. Peace to you and God Bless.


If you’re over 21, then you have the right to be “on your own”.

My recommendation is to read “Bad Childhood; Good Life” by Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Read the last chapter first.


I think it’s because she (my brother’s girlfriend - now fiance) has all the “right” clothes, makeup, the hairstyle/color that my mom wishes I had/would do. If I cake on makeup (not that girlfriend does, but she always makes sure she has on lipstick, etc.), wear Ralph Lauren, and hot roll my hair with tons of hairspray my mom will tell me how pretty I look. But if I go somewhere with just jeans and a teeshirt, my hair in a pony, and no makeup she won’t say that; and usually she’ll beg me the whole time to put on some lipstick, etc. Used to, she’d say I looked aweful and wouldn’t I please do something about the way I was dressed, etc. (she always acts like she’s ashamed to be seen with me) I finally got her to back off a little. I think that was in part to DH saying everytime how he thought I was beautiful just the way I was.

Yes she has the whole deal with my hair, too. It’s dark and she wanted a blonde so she started coloring it when I was 10 (she also tried to perm it all the time because it was really straight and baby fine - still is). By the time I was in high school it was so over processed that my boyfriend (why he would say this I don’t know…) commented that it was puke colored. Well, it was close. Actually it was the color of the powder the bus drivers put on the puke when someone vomits on the bus. That was the last time I ever let her color my hair. Now the gray is starting to come in. I’m still not going to color it which is going to drive her absolutely nuts!

Thanks for your prayers, and, yes, everyone I know thinks she is a lunatic. Dh has stood up for me many times. And I will make sure that when the photographs come back that SD sees that I didn’t get any with my mother in them for the way she treated DH and SD.

I am really glad to know that I’m not alone. THANK YOU ALL!

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