Why is my mom so emotionally unavailable towards me?

I'm a 26 year old female. Who wants to grow closer to her mum. Over the years me and my mother has grown pretty much a part. And it's hurting me a little inside. So it all started a few years back when I really began to notice it. See, my mother is a very emotionally distant person in general. I've never seen her cry at all or show any other emotion except anger. Back when her and my dad got divorced that really did something to her mentally and I watched her battle depression and such, even though I was a young teenager I helped her through it. Now fas forward about 10 years later she has become a selfish, controlling, nonchalant person. I never realized it until recently that she is very empty inside and it's almost like she resents me for being born and for my dad treating her like c*** back in the day. She acts very self centered towards me and my step dad. She throw jeers at us and she always throw how she's has to help me still in my face. No mind you I'm a strong, independent person but through the later years I've been struggling a lot with life and my health. She indirectly hurts my feels with the comparisons to others. She doesn't do much with her life, just the basics...work, church, shopping etc.. I feel like she lost her excitement and passion for life. She bosses me and my step dad around like we owe her something just been she takes care of the house. Keep in mind I've already moved out, but I do visit them often. I hate feeling like I'm obligated to her just because she still helps me out financially. But I would rather her be kind and loving than to feel like it's a chore to be a mother. When she was going through and so focused over my no good dad, I still was there for her, but why isn't she there for me emotionally? Why do she not care about anything that doesn't directly concerns her? It's like everything is forced with her even a I love you or a hug. She doesn't build me up at all, she acts like I've done something to her and she resents me for even existing. She is a Christian and honestly she does really act to Christ like. She'll praise me behind my back, but never really to my face. I have no friends or family to run to when I need help. But I'm always there for others, nobody is truly there for me. I feel extremely a lone now and I'm an only child too. Btw my childhood was rough all the way up to now. My real dad never really been around. My step dad is very nice and so is my mom but she has things about her she needs to change before I cut her off honestly.

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16 Replies

  • Hi my mother was similar to yours and I spent years wishing she was different and tried to change her but to no avail. I am afraid you are on to a loser there. You can only change your attitude towards her and accept her how she is.

    Not having a go at you but how can you be independent if she helps you out financially? How can you be independent if you need her love and approval still?

    You need to be looking for what you need and want in life outside your family and not rely on them to provide it. That's true independence.

  • For independent, maybe read emotionally reserved, coughalot. It would not be surprsing given your upbringing, Renblake. Perhaps having some therapy about how to open up a bit more yourself would help you find other people to be close to, rather than battling to change your Mum into someone you wish she could be. Whatever has caused her hurts and to shut off, you wil not change that by trying. Be the person you would like her to be, for your friends and future family.

  • Hi nice to see you fm. I used the word 'independent' coz that's what the poster used and there was no criticism implied. 'Emotionally reserved' is a separate meaning. x

  • Yes yes, I do understand. All I was saying is that one can see oneself as independent because on feels that one has had to be, when parents have not been there for you, but you do not realise just how emotionally reserved you become too. Other people can pick up on this and can hold back.

  • Yes I know which is why I picked up on the independent bit to make the poster think about it. x

  • Mm, yes, and I think it takes being emotionally open to be able to successfully build a life of your own and become independent. None of us function well alone. I believe true independence does not mean not needing anyone, but in being able to have a successful adult relationship with the right people so that we become free of relationships and ties that keep us in child mode. Lack of emotional availability often leads us to repeating bad relationships with people who remind us of our family, and stop us becoming who we are meant to be. So we are both right, aren't we?

  • Coughalot2 is right. All I can do is encourage you to take her advice. Pam

  • Hi Renblake, perhaps it would be good for you to take a step back from her!! Use your time to join some social clubs, make friends. Do something for you!! Everyone wants a good loving relationship with there parents but as we know it dosnt always pan out like that. The other thing you could do is talk to her about it? I know it will be hard but don't look back and have regrets about what you didn't do or it may haunt you later on. At least if you try you will know in your own mind you wanted to sort things out with her. Tell her how you feel? She may even be shocked that you feel that way. Or she may just not want to know. If it's easier write a letter to her!! You deserve a happy life, it's not your fault your parents divorced. It has obviously left her with lots of issues. If she put a wall round her because she was hurt at the separation from your dad then any love she has for you is probably behind there too. You owe it to yourself to try sort it out!! Forgive me for saying it but you need to be the grown up here.if your willing to walk away anyway you really have nothing to loose. Good luck 🙏🏻

  • Maybe your mom needs help. But, it takes a strong person to just say those words "HELP" so this is why she hides her emotions, because she got hurt emotionally so bc of your dad that she blames you... Not because you did anything, but because you remind her of him. Sometimes we have to put ourselves in their shoes and be a better person... Maybe right her a letter expressing your love towards her... Let her know you are still her only kid... And how you want a relationship with the only mother you have. I've struggled with my mom as well.. And after my dad passed away, I felt even worse. But, although I know my mom is distant doesn't mean I can't be the better person and show her all my love...

  • My mum is very like this and it hurts like hell. Try and look up narsassistic personality disorder and it may ring true as it did with myself. I read a few books on it and started to understand the cycle of jumping through hoops for her never to actually get a reward ever. You have two options you accept the relationship and accept you are never going to get what you crave as a child from this person or you cut them off which is never ever easy as they control us more than we admit. I keep my mum at arms length and after years of being kicked when I am down from her I have accepted the way she is but I put a wall up so she never really upsets me anymore. If I let that guard down ever I am always sorry as she causes trouble with other family members and lies so she looks like the victim. It's pretty messed up and everyone thinks she's lovely because she will do more for others than she will her own children. Anything I do which is good is never talked about just all the negative things. Which are usually a reaction to the way she treats me.

  • Hi Ren Blake, I hear what you're saying. My mom used to be very critical to one of my sisters and to me. She was a narcissistic personality. It took so many years to realize it. I finally had to move out of the state to get some distance. I moved back quite a few years ago and she started in again. I found, to both her and that sister's consternation, that the best thing for my peace of mind was to limit my exposure to her. I tried talking to her. It didn't help. We grew up without much affection from either parent. My father was worthless. My mom worked all the time. She did get more affectionate the last 20 years of her life. But she was still critical. She died at 91, two years ago.

    I suggest you stop relying on her financially and for her approval. You're grown up. Try and talk, sure, but don't be too disappointed if you don't get the results you want.

    Let her know you love her and would like to feel her love for you. I wish you happiness and love, Nesie237

  • I too Nesie moved a long way away and came back I was an adult . By then though I could deal with my mum and her behaviour didn't affect me. When she realised this she respected me a lot more and our relationship improved.

  • I too managed to have a more adult relationship with my family, until after my last divorce. Perhaps that triggered immature behavour in me, that pressed their buttons, or maybe they took advantage of my insecure state. Either way, once you have a bad relationship like this with your family there is always the danger of slipping back, just like an addict and their drug. The only way to protect yourself against it is to make new non-druggy friends, and never let yourself be alone with the drug when you are at a low ebb.

  • Very good advice x

  • Ok, thanks, but that is possibly an overexaggeration, and there was problems on both sides. However, since many Dad's (and Mums) cannot stop being parents, and have their own problems, try not to act like a child in front of them as you may come to regret it. If you need to leave home in order to change your behaviour, then do so. If you cannot maintain adult behaviour when you go home, limit it to the minimum. If your parents cannot accept you as an adult, avoid them as they clearly never grew up themselves.

  • Sometimes distance is what it takes. I'm glad you're getting along better and respects you. Nesie 237

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