There are times when your mother makes you happy. There are times when you miss her like crazy. But then there are the times when she literally drives you to tears of anger and resentment. If you are unhappy about it and wish to do something about it, check out the tips below. Following even just one of the tips will be sure to help bring resolution to the problems.
1) Walk away. When you’re having a conversation with your mother and feel that it’s rapidly heading the wrong direction, excuse yourself and leave the room. Go for a walk. Listen to music. Leave the vicinity. Get a chance to calm down. Let her know that it’s because you honor, love and respect her that you need a chance to think about things before it escalates into a full-blown argument.
2) Remember that she’s from a different generation. We’ve all heard a variation of “when I was young things didn’t happen this way”. What to do? Gently remind her that although you acknowledge that rules and customs where different for her, you are living in a society that is rapidly changing and things are done another way. This new society has different customs and to be successful in it, you are choosing to follow the way it’s done here and now.
3) You only have one mother. When all is said and done, most of us only have one person that we consider our mother. It may be your biological mother or the person who raised you as though you were their own. Is what you’re angry about really worth it? If you were to lose her and no longer had access to her motherly love, would you still feel the same amount of anger? Wouldn’t you rather part ways loving each other rather than being angry and resentful?
4) Would you rather be happy or be right? You just had a really intense argument with your mother. You know with absolute certainty that you are right and she’s wrong. If you keep arguing you might stop talking for awhile or you might even lose her. Is being right absolutely worth it? What’s worth more to you – proving that you are right or having a happy, loving relationship with your mother?
5) Apologize for your role in the situation. It takes two people to argue. Take a step back and figure out what you could have done to stop the conversation from escalating into an argument. It may be that you got defensive right away and stopped hearing her. Or maybe you began the conversation with your mind made up and nothing she could have said would have changed your mind. Either way, figure out where the breakdown happened and apologize for the role you played. That doesn’t mean conceding, it means taking accountability for things escalating from a conversation to an argument/fight.
6) Put yourself in her shoes. See life from her point of view. Would you pay attention to the same details if you had her responsibilities? Let’s say she’s having trouble making ends meet, she may not be so interested in hearing how you lost your luxury rental and had to settle for the economy pack. Or maybe it’s just the opposite: she’s always had whatever she wants at the tip of her fingertips and can’t understand why you’re balking at spending your hard-earned money at a fancy dinner. Either way, try to see the situation from her side before you start pointing fingers. It just might make the difference.
7) Write her a letter. You may be the kind of person who has difficulty saying what’s on their minds. Or you might have found that you started to say something but she wasn’t receptive. Your solution might just be to grab pen and paper and tell your mother how you feel. Write out how things are from both points of view and where you see the breakdown occurring. End the letter by acknowledging your love and appreciation for her.
8) Write out your feelings. Sometimes you may be angry at your mother and either you aren’t in a situation where you can express them, or you may not even be sure exactly why you are mad. Freestyle writing might help you express all the hurt and pain you’re feeling without causing more. Write out every thought that comes to your mind. Don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. Just write it. Reach into the farthest corners of your mind and write down what you find. You might be surprised at the real reason why you are angry. Once you’re done, burn the paper and then make a plan of action.
9) Don’t shout, yell or scream. Have you ever noticed that the more people shout the less they are listening? When two people are really connected they communicate with a single look or touch. But if you’re busy shouting, your ability to listen is greatly diminished. If you really want your mother to listen to you, don’t raise your voice or scream obscenities at her. It will only put her on the defensive and will prevent her from hearing what you’re saying. Leave the room if you must but don’t raise your volume as a means of being heard.
10) Is her behavior specific to you? It might seem like she’s always picking on you but is she really? Are you sure she doesn’t do it to others? Maybe what you’re seeing is your mother dealing with problems and emotions the only way she knows how to and will be the same no matter who she’s dealing with. If that’s the case, you might decide to spend your energy helping her deal with problems a different way, rather than being angry at the specific behavior or conversation.
11) Spend some time with her doing mundane tasks. Help her with her chores or organizing her office. Find out what she has going on in her life. She may have pressures that you never knew she had. Your mother will appreciate having someone to help relieve her stress, you might learn something new, and you might even have time left over to do something fun.
12) Watch a movie with her that can help express how you feel. Use the situations in the movie an opening to bring up what’s bothering you. For example, Freaky Friday is a wonderful movie about a mother and daughter who literally switch places. If you’re having trouble understanding what’s going on in each other’s lives, this is a great conversation starter.
13) Practice gratitude. Every night before you go to sleep, think about one thing that you are truly grateful for about your mother. It doesn’t matter whether it’s something big or something small. Maybe it’s the chicken soup she makes for you when you’re sick. Or maybe how she acts as a buffer between you and those who pick on you. Write one thing down every day before you go to bed and re-read it every morning. Before long you might find the anger you feel inside dissipating.
14) Is it the pain talking? Do either of you have a physical illness or discomfort that exacerbates the situation? Most people can’t think their best or clearest when they’re in pain. They might even lash out and say things they wouldn’t have said otherwise. Perhaps you should hold tough conversations for a time when the pain-killers have kicked in and you or she can think clearly.
15) Are you communicating enough? We can only do the best we can with the information we have available to us. If you don’t tell her what’s really going on in your life, how do you expect her to empathize with you? If she doesn’t tell you what’s behind her decisions, how are you going to perceive them as being fair? Talk to each other and be honest about your feelings and emotions surrounding the particular situation you are angry about.
16) Pay attention to your dreams. For those of us who can remember our dreams, they can offer amazing insights into a particular situation. If you are angry at your mother and you have a dream about her, pay special attention to what happens in the dream. Perhaps your unconscious mind is trying to tell you something.
17) Stand up for what you truly believe in. You may be angry at your mother for making you do something that goes against your grain. Perhaps you wanted to study French cooking since you were little but she insisted on you becoming a doctor. Or maybe she wanted you to buy that sporty new convertible but you really felt more comfortable with a utilitarian vehicle. Whatever it is, stand up for your rights as this will diminish the anger and resentment you’ll feel towards your mother.
18) Don’t give in to the guilt. There are certain situations where your mother may be guilt-tripping you into doing something she knows you don’t want to do. No matter how many times you’ve told yourself you won’t give in, you still end up doing want she wants. The anger you feel inside might be avoided if you hadn’t given in to the guilt in the first place. Next time, be firm and say “thank you but no thanks”. Guilt serves no one and leads to the erosion of the relationship. Save yourself the time and the trouble and learn to say no gently and kindly, but firmly.
19) Offer an alternative solution. Is there some other way to get resolve the issues that are feeding your anger? Perhaps you’re angry because you have to give up your Sunday mornings so that you can take your mother to see her long-lost relatives (which you find boring). Maybe you can arrange a once-a-month soiree where they come and see her instead. Or you might be mad that she picks the exact moment when your favorite show comes on TV to bug you about anything and everything. You might pick a particular hour as “mom hour” when she can talk to you about whatever’s on her mind.
20) Stop lying to her. If you want your mother to believe you when you are having a conversation, tell her the truth and be willing to face the consequences of your actions. Even if she doesn’t agree with what you’ve done, the conversation will move from accusations of deceit to a more productive conversation about solutions and what to do going forward.
21) Show an interest in her life. You might be angry at your mother because it feels like she never takes an active interest in what goes on in your life. If you want your mother to take more of an interest in your life, show her by example and take an interest in hers. Maybe she’s really into soap operas. Ask her about what she gets out of watching them. She might be into charities or book clubs. Go to an event with her. Afterwards ask her if she’s willing to come to one of your events. You might be pleasantly surprised.
22) Talk to people that knew her when she was younger. You’d be amazed at all the things you can find out about your mother by talking to her old friends or colleagues. Maybe she pushes you away from dating a particular type of person because she had a bad experience with someone similar in her past. She might push you to look your best at all times because people made fun of her looks when she was little and she doesn’t want the same thing happening to you. Who knows what you’ll find out but chances are high that it’ll lead to a new understanding of her current actions and decisions.
23) Bring in a mediator. When the two of you can’t find a solution or middle ground, it might be time to bring in a neutral third party. Someone who isn’t related to either of you and can act as a buffer as well as help you come to a mutual agreement.
24) Seek professional help. Try as we might, there are resentments that are so deep that we cannot deal with them on our own. Rather than continue carrying that anger and resentment around, talk to a professional counselor or therapists. They may be able to shed light on the issues or help you see the situations from different perspectives.
25) Agree to disagree. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, we just can’t see eye to eye. When you’ve tried every which way to make matters better and nothing seems to work, you might decide that it’s time to let sleeping dogs lie and agree to disagree.