My Mom Hates Me: What to Do When You Feel This Way

Stubborn mom and daughter avoid talking after conflict

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Because mothers constitute a significant part of our first contact with the world, it’s understandable for you to feel deeply connected to that half of your parental unit. In terms of your relationship with your mother, obligations may revolve around loving them and behaving in respectful ways.

Mothers, on the other hand, have more complex and demanding roles. Parents are required to provide for their children in many ways and protect them from danger.

However, a mother's most important job is to show their child love which is why coming to feel that your mother may not care for you in this way can be incredibly painful.

Being suspicious of or questioning your mother’s love for you is a pain that can be difficult to navigate. If you’ve ever wondered about your mother’s feelings towards you, several painful interactions may have led to this presumption.

In this article, we’ll be breaking down some of the scenarios that can cause you as an adult to question your mother’s love, possible reasons behind these feelings, as well as the different ways to cope with feeling unloved.

Reasons You May Think Your Mother Hates You

According to psychotherapist Valentina Dragomir, "There could be many reasons why a child may think their mother hates them. Perhaps the child is feeling neglected or unsupported, and has interpreted this as hatred. Maybe the child has witnessed their mother behaving angrily towards others, and has mistakenly assumed that this anger is directed at them. It could also be that the child is simply going through a phase of rebelliousness, during which they naturally assume that their parents must be against them."

It isn’t always possible to experience smooth sailing 100% of the time in our relationships. This goes across the board with romantic and platonic relationships, our dealings with siblings, and very notably, with our parents.

The following are reasons that may lead you to doubt your mother's love for you.

Your Mother Always Finds Fault With You

Criticism isn’t always a bad thing. On one hand, listening to others give honest feedback about our work ethic, communication skills, or relationship with others can sometimes help in our growth. However, being on the receiving end of harsh reviews can feel incredibly hurtful, especially when the person giving it happens to be your mother.

If your mother often criticizes different aspects of your behavior, it can be tough to swallow. But while difficult to endure, she may just have your best interest at heart. Her harsh criticism could be the result of her struggle to carefully dish out her concern.

Valentina adds: "There could be many reasons for a strained relationship between mother and child. Perhaps the child is going through a rebellious phase, and the mother is struggling to deal with their behavior. It could be that the mother is working long hours and feels too tired to engage with her child. Or, if the mother is dealing with her own personal issues, this makes it difficult for her to be emotionally available for her child."

However, in some instances, if she is able to find an issue with, or disparage everything about you, from minor matters such as your choice of clothing, or the amount of perfume you use—to serious areas like your choice of profession or a life partner, your mom may not always have your best interests or the best of intentions at heart.

Your Mother Refuses to Spend Time With You

As we all know and have personal experience navigating, there hardly ever seems to be enough time in the day to balance work, physical activities, as well as our relationships with others.

If it’s a struggle to recall the last time you spent quality time with your mother, it might sting. However, the wide gap may not always indicate any negative feelings your mother may harbor towards you, your mom could simply be overwhelmed and having a hard time sorting life and personal time with her children.

But if your mom typically appears hesitant to commit to plans to meet up, cancels on said plans with weak and sometimes overly elaborate reasons, or is always impatient to leave when you meet up—it’s understandable that this could cause you to question her feelings for you.

Your Mother Is Mean to You

Many people describe their moms as warm, attentive, and kind. However, if your estimations of your mother are more along the lines of cold, abusive, or just plain cruel, this could be a worrying sign that your mother holds negative feelings towards you.

Your reasons for feeling this way may stem from anything. Perhaps your mother makes her preference for your siblings obvious in her gifts towards them or in the way she communicates with them. Or maybe your mom lashes out at you for no reason or ignores you and your feelings.

You Feel a Sense of Fear When You're Around Her

For the most part, mothers offer a haven for their children. But, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case, as some mothers may be the root cause of the worries, difficulties, and fears their children experience.

Some mothers may be unsure of how to give reassurance and gentle love to their children. If this is the case with your mother, it's easy to shelf her behavior as being hateful. This may not always be her intention.

However, if you frequently receive poor treatment from your mother in the way of unkind words, repeatedly dismissed feelings, poor communication, or other cruel treatment, this can affect how you relate with her. In such cases, it won’t be uncommon to feel fear while being unable to voice your unhappiness in the presence of your mother.

Why Do Mothers Hate Their Children?

Ideally, adult children will be close to their mothers, with mothers being healthily involved in the lives of their offspring.

However, not all mothers fit into this mold, with some showing or holding obvious disdain for their children. This may be due to any number of reasons. For example, some mothers may experience mental health issues that lead to expressions of hostility towards their children. 

Other times, mothers may be distant and cold towards their children due to their own emotional issues such as parental burnout. Valentina Dragomir adds: "The mother's point of view may be quite different to the child's belief. The mother may be completely unaware that her child feels this way, and is actually deeply hurt by the thought that her child could think she hates them. The mother may be struggling with her own issues and unintentionally taking them out on her child, leading the child to believe that she hates them. In any case, it is likely that the mother does not actually hate her child, but rather is struggling to cope with her own issues and may not be providing the support that the child needs."

Prioritize Your Needs

Whatever reason you may suspect is behind your mother’s behavior, it is important to free yourself of blame or beliefs that you're unworthy of love. Instead, prioritize your own well-being. However, it may be helpful to probe possible reasons behind your mother's behavior.

What to Do If Your Mom Seems to Hate You

Feeling that your mother holds animosity toward you can negatively impact your well-being. Experiencing this pain can contribute to serious conditions like depression and anxiety.

Below are some ways to cope with this experience.

Attend Therapy

One of the most trusted ways to deal with the mental distress of the experience of an unwelcoming parent is through therapy.

By speaking with a qualified professional, you'll be able to unpack the complexities of your relationship with your mother, and how any ill-treatment has made you feel. It’ll also help deal with irrational guilt you may feel around interactions with your mom. 

Beyond that, therapy can help you develop healthy ways to deal with your mom in the present.

Have a Serious Conversation With Your Mother

When you are the constant recipient of unkind words or cold treatment from your mother, speaking to her about it may seem like a pointless endeavor.

However, there is sometimes power in communicating your hurt. Telling your mother in clear language, how her behavior has affected you and your relationship with her, might be a wake-up call and open a different kind of dialogue between the two of you.

Distance Yourself From Your Mother

There are cases, however, when speaking to your mother and communicating your pain does not produce any results or makes things worse. In such cases, especially in instances where she remains emotionally abusive towards you, it may be important to take the necessary steps to maintain an emotionally safe distance away from each other.

Keeping your distance may help to protect your well-being. Distance may take the form of moving out of your mother's home if you are still living there.

Distance could also mean limiting voice and in-person contact as well.

Get Appropriate Support

Dealing with the ordeal of a less-than-kind mother can be trying for even the strongest of people. This is why rallying friends and family members during this period for emotional and other forms of support can be an important step to protect and promote your well-being.

A Word From Verywell

Not everyone will like you, but there are certain people in our lives that are largely considered exempt from this rule. In particular, mothers are usually members of the close circle of loved people we expect to cherish us in our interactions. In reality, this is not always the case.

If you’ve experienced persistent, poor treatment from your mother, the pain may sometimes overshadow anything in your life. However, it is important to remember that you deserve to be treated well.

Communicating with your mother about the impact of her treatment, keeping some distance, seeking therapy, and getting the right support from friends and family can help with navigating your emotional pain.

6 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Elizabeth Plumptre
Elizabeth is a freelance health and wellness writer. She helps brands craft factual, yet relatable content that resonates with diverse audiences.