9 Signs Your Mom Is Too Controlling & How To Deal With It
Even though most of us would love to have a healthy relationship with our parents, that just isn't always the case. Just because someone is your parent doesn't necessarily mean your relationship with them will be perfect. If you feel tension because your mom is too controlling or if she constantly makes you feel guilty, then it can be difficult to build a successful relationship.
To be frank, this kind of relationship isn't healthy (even if it can be common). As much as your mom would probably love to guide you throughout your life and prevent you from getting hurt, it's also her job to let you make mistakes so you can grow and learn. Often times parents are stuck in their own ways (just like children can be), and continue this behavior because they think they're doing the right thing. There is probably an underlying issue as to why your mom is controlling and if you want to fix it, getting to the root of these issues is key.
For instance, licensed clinical psychologist Sarah Schewitz, Psy.D., states in an email with Bustle, "There are many reasons a mom might be controlling. One reason is anxiety. People with anxiety tend to think the worst case scenario and fear that their life or their child's life is in danger at any given moment. Being controlling is a way to protect her child from harm and a way to manage her anxiety. Another reason a mom might be controlling is that it is a learned a pattern of behavior. She may have grown up with controlling parents which taught her that controlling is how you parent effectively. Unless she has gone to parent training or therapy in an effort to change, she is most likely going to do what her parents did."
"Another reason a mom may be controlling is if she has power issues. She may have grown up in a home where she felt out of control or powerless. Her feelings may not have been respected or she may not have had a voice in [her] home. If she hasn't done the work to get over this, she will continue fighting this power struggle throughout her whole life," continues Schewitz.
In short, moms are human, and it's completely natural for them to make mistakes. But if the above stories kind of sound like your mom, here are nine more signs that indicate your mother may be too controlling.
1. Your Mom Wants You In Her Inner Circle
Being BFF with your mom is a dream come true. It's nice to know that you can go to her with any problem without feeling judged. However, if she constantly pressures you to hang out with her or guilt trips you to do what she wants, it may be a red flag.
"[Your mom] goes beyond including you in social events and activities, and basically treats you like a friend. If she demands the friendship, ties love to that friendship, and requires you to act like her best friend, she is being too controlling," says clinical psychologist and host of the relationship show The Web Joshua Klapow in an interview with Bustle over email.
2. You Feel Obligated To Help Your Mom Navigate Her Own Life
Some moms might not know it all. They're human and need to grow and learn from their mistakes just like you and I. For instance, it's totally fine if your mom asks for your opinion about a particular negative situation she may be experiencing. However, she may be too dependent on your relationship if she constantly demands your advice and attention. "Your mom may call on you for your input, but to the extent that you feel your mom has sucked you into her decisions on a regular basis, then the boundaries have faded. Your mom should be able to make decisions about friends, work, life for the most part on her own. If this is not possible, it may not feel like she is controlling, but she is doing so through her dependence on you," says Klapow.
3. Your Personal Relationships Are Defined Or Approved By Your Mom
When you're under the age of 18 and still living at home, it's your mom's job to make sure you're hanging with the right crowd. But once you leave the nest and make a living on your own, your mama shouldn't stalk you on Instagram or Facebook and constantly question your whereabouts. For some people, this might be normal. But if it's an everyday situation, make sure you distance yourself. "Who you hang out with, who you date, should only be your mom's business, if invited. Your mom should not automatically be a part of these interactions. If this is happening 'against your will' she may be too controlling," says Klapow.
4. She Has An Opinion About Everything That You Do
Some moms aren't afraid to give their two cents. If the minute you see them, you're bombarded with opinions and questions, you probably feel like you're in court. And even though most moms express their concerns because they only want the best for their children, controlling moms might continue to push issues just because they want to be heard. "You should have the freedom to work, go to school, socialize without being tethered back to [your] mom. If basic decisions like where to go to eat, what to do on a given day, how to think or react are dictated by your mom — she may be too controlling," says Klapow.
5. You Feel It
"Sounds incredibly simplistic, but very often our emotions are accurate barometers of the situation. You should rarely feel that your mom is controlling if you are an independent adult. If you look at your interactions with her and more times than not they 'feel controlling,' there is a decent chance she is being too controlling," says Kaplow. Listen to your gut, and if you feel like your mom is constantly creeping on you, questioning your whereabouts, or telling you what to do, then you might want to sit down and have a little chat with her. While respect is important, you also want to make sure that your mom understands that you love her but want her to have her own life, too.
6. Your Mom Is Dominating
Your mom might not realize that she's being controlling because she believes that's how she should parent. If you know that your mom was brought up in an unhealthy home environment when she was younger, then it might explain why she is dominating your life. "Some moms have the tendency to be dominating towards their children because that is how their parents were with them. It's a learned pattern of behavior. She may have grown up with dominating parents which taught her that being dominant is how you parent effectively," says Schewitz.
7. She Lacks Empathy
Another characteristic for a controlling mother might be a lack of empathy. "Some controlling mothers lack empathy for their children. This could be the result of being so caught up in their own life stress that they don't have the capacity or energy to think about their children's feelings. Other moms just never fully develop the ability to be empathetic towards anyone, let alone their children," says Schewitz.
8. She's Overly Protective
If you're like me, then you've probably left your phone for a bit only to come back to dozens of texts from your mom wondering why you weren't responding and if you're still alive. Although this happpens to many of us, in extreme situations it could indicate that your mom is controlling. "Controlling moms often are very fearful of what might happen to their children. Being controlling is a way to protect her child from harm and a way to manage her anxiety," says Schewitz.
9. She's Manipulative
According to Psychology Today, mothers can be considered controlling if they constantly try to blame, shame, guilt, or pressure you. "A common theme running through these forms of manipulation is that love is given as a conditional reward, rather than the natural expression of healthy parenting. On the other hand, the withholding of love is used as threat and punishment," said author of How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People Preston Ni M.S.B.A.
Most parents usually want the best for their children, but if you feel like your mom's love is a little overbearing, then it might be time to have a little chat. Be kind and express your thoughts to your parents about how controlling she has been. After all, it's important to have a healthy relationship with your mom and if something is bothering you, there is nothing wrong with talking to her about it.