My mother used to taunt me for not being a good student and my stutter, maybe that was her way of taking our her frustration, in my senior secondary school she took it so far that I had to think about how to commit suicide or run away from the house to get her out of my life, but I was able to do neither. Right from that time, I stopped talking to her and eating anything she cooked and for this she created a scene and got my grandfather involved to let me talk to her again. I don't like her from that time. She is a sweet lady and behaves well with everyone but somehow manages to piss/scare/frustrate me.

I stayed with my family during my engineering for 4 years but always maintained distance from mother as I know what she can do and she will never change herself but put all her energy/efforts to tell me how much of a loser I am and how I need to change. My being gullible/nice/weak makes it much easier for her.

Now I'm working in another city and want myself and her to be happy in their own cities but she wants to come to stay with me for some days/weeks, I can't take it. I am doing quite well with my job and transfer her money enough to pay bills and live a luxurious life. If she comes and messes my brain again my new job will get affected.

Somehow my father is also not that big fan of my mother. I appreciate my father, when I was going though a bad time he told me that I should just do my best and not worry much about the result since everything is not in our hands. Whereas my mother would be ready to sacrifice my happiness/health/maybe life for money/success. She proved the same again when I was working for a company last year and was frustrated with the same, her advice was that I should keep working there.

I don't mind the past and can manage with the same but can't bear her with me in my house now or in future. At least I need my father to be around to balance out the negativity she spreads, but my father is not coming to my place with her. She may behave well with me for now but if I somehow go though bad time again in life, she will increase my trouble exponentially and maybe I'm much stronger now to do what I was not able to do earlier. Other than this I don't like and can't take it if she is the only person around me.

I'm thinking about switching off my phone when she is here so she stays at my Aunt's place instead of my place, moving to a friend's place for a couple of days and tell her that I can't come home because of work at the office. Can there be any better solution for the same.

  • 31
    You stop being gullible and weak. You say "No, you cannot stay with me." You do not let her stay with you. If she shows up anyway, you tell her to leave (shout through the door, call her cellphone or use a door chain) and then if she does not leave you call the police.
    – user253751
    May 7, 2017 at 21:29
  • 22
    " I am doing quite well with my job and transfer her money enough to pay bills and live a luxurious life." Is this normal in your culture? I've heard of kids supporting their parents, but not to the point of luxury - especially if said parent is disliked.
    – Weckar E.
    May 8, 2017 at 9:32
  • 5
    @McCann: "gullible/weak" are the OP's own words, see paragraph 2. If the OP is exhibiting behaviour that he himself sees as gullible/weak and which makes it easy for his mother to abuse him, immibis correctly suggests that he should stop exhibiting this behaviour.
    – Heinzi
    May 8, 2017 at 14:48
  • 9
    Solve a more general problem. Your problem is "someone wants me to do something. I don't want to do it. How do I not do it?" The answer to the more general problem is easy and has two parts. First, you don't do the thing. Second, when someone asks you why you are not doing the thing, you say "I'm sorry, but I simply cannot". It is surprisingly difficult to keep saying that over and over again, but it does work. Try it! May 8, 2017 at 17:58
  • 5
    I suspect this question cannot be answered by someone in Western culture, as the obvious answer to it (in Western culture) is "Tell your mom she cannot stay with you," and this appears to not be an option in Indian culture. The idea that someone could bring you to the brink of suicide and you'd still feel the need to provide for them and let them stay with you... that's a hard one for the Western mind to comprehend. Here, we have people who murder their parents over such things, and then use the stories of abuse as their defense.
    – bubbleking
    May 8, 2017 at 22:32

8 Answers 8


It looks from your post that you have very good reasons not to let your mother stay at your place. It seems that in spite of seeing all the reasons why this is a bad idea you are still hesitant. A few points to consider:

  • If your mother stays even for one night it will be harder to ask her to leave or not to repeat her visit in the future.
  • Not everyone would invite their parents to stay in their place even if they are in a good relationship.
  • Many parents would not ask to stay at their children place without invitation or if they noticed that the child is not entirely happy with the suggestion. There is no reason to treat your mother better only because she can't/won't notice you're not happy with the idea.
  • It is extremely important to look after your own well being. For yourself and for people around you.

In terms of how to do it - I don't think you should need to move anywhere or make up anything. What about if you say that she can't stay at your place? And if pressed for a reason say you don't want her to stay with you. I know it sounds like a harsh thing to say for a nice person. But it is not harsh - it is just setting and guarding your boundaries. Also - you know these people who can tell others things they really don't want to hear and it does not sound even a bit harsh? I think the key is not to say it as if you were guilty and feeling somewhat bad about your decision. But rather state it as a (sad) fact. Which actually it is. A sad fact that your mother can't stay at your place. And avoid giving any explanation and going into details. Another thing is - if your mother cares for you (in spite of making all these huge mistakes) - she will understand and appreciate the level of contact you are happy to keep. If she does not care - even more of a reason to not care so much either and take care of yourself.

You mentioned the option of switching off your phone. But that similarly as the idea of moving out from your flat temporarily sounds like instead of trying to put a boundary of your territory (and it is definitely yours: your home, phone, time) you let your mother to come closer than you can accept and move back yourself. It sounds like you feel strongly about no letting your mother come and stay - so this is the minimum. You also have the right to refuse to talk to her/talk to her more often that you want to/see her. I'm not saying it is a good idea. Just suggest than you think of what level of communication with your mother would be best for you and how it compares to reality.

  • 12
    "Many parents would not ask to stay at their children place without invitation" ... some cultural context might be needed there. OP's profile says they're from India, and it isn't surprising to me (also from India) that parents would assume they'll stay with the children when visiting (hell, not just parents, distant relatives, friends as well). That's the default unless stated otherwise for me. And if OP tells their mum that she can't stay with him, it's certain that she will ask why not. ...
    – muru
    May 8, 2017 at 7:47
  • 15
    ... I'm not saying your answer is incorrect, but that socially, there's a lot of pressure on Indian kids to agree with their parents' requests and it's not easy to maintain boundaries.
    – muru
    May 8, 2017 at 7:47
  • 7
    "there's a lot of pressure on Indian kids ..... not easy to maintain boundaries" Amen to that!!! This must be the single greatest cultural difference between the west and the south asian countries. My last partner was from there, and we crumbled under that pressure. OP probably can't pull this off without being painted as a truly terrible person to everyone who knows him or the mom. But if he decides that the pros outweigh the cons, this is indeed a good solution.
    – learner101
    May 8, 2017 at 8:03
  • @muru this is a great point. I guess even in western countries limiting contact with parent(s) is very hard. But surely the reaction of family and people around is likely be more understanding.
    – Ola M
    May 8, 2017 at 9:57

I agree with Ola M. You have to draw the line and then stick to it. "Sorry Mum, you can't stay with me." If you make excuses, she is going to be able to find 'solutions', so the only way is to tell the truth.

You said you father understands, so I'd tell him the unvarnished truth and see if he has a way of telling your mum that won't be as hurtful. Perhaps your aunt might also be encouraged to help by your father.

I appreciate that you still love your mum even though you recognise the relationship is not good for you.

If Mum asks why she can't stay, you could try telling her that you are under a lot of pressure at work to do well (the truth), and that she has not been easy for you to get along with in the past. Suggest that if the next few times you visit her, that if she shows you loving support, you might then invite her for a visit in the future.

I think that the biggest problem when dealing with our parents when we are adults -- is that we have to act like adults and not allow ourselves to be drawn into the familiar child/parent 'norms'. Parents are as 'guilty' as children are in this. It's what we're used to.

So the bottom line is that you have to "grow up". Treat her as you would a respected older person to whom you are not related. If she stays with your aunt you can perhaps agree to one meal or coffee and tell her you can't spare her the time. If she starts in on her usual rant, quietly take your leave. "Mum, I am not going to listen to this any more. See you next time." (Pay the bill if it is your treat, but) Leave without making a big deal.

  • 1
    Very nice addition with very good practical advice. Being blessed with a very dominant mother myself, I followed the same approach. She means well, but goes about it totally wrong without knowing/understanding that. Place clear boundaries and don't provide wiggle room for her to stretch those boundaries. The first time (or 2nd or 3rd) that discussion surfaces it may cause some additional friction, but in the long run it will help to smooth relations for the future. You will have to be firm about it though. It make take a while before she gets it (if ever...).
    – Tonny
    May 7, 2017 at 15:03
  • 13
    I know this is easy to say and hard to do, but don't argue with her about your decision to keep her out of your residence. "Mother, it is a bad idea for you to stay in my apartment, and I will not permit it." "Son, I'm your mother." "Mother, it is a bad idea for you to stay in my apartment, and I will not permit it." "It's just for three nights." "Mother, it is a bad idea for you to stay in my apartment, and I will not permit it." Your roles are reversed. She didn't argue with you when she taught you not to play football in the street. Neither will you argue with her now.
    – O. Jones
    May 7, 2017 at 21:57
  • 2
    "If Mum asks why she can't stay, you could try telling her that you are under a lot of pressure at work to do well". Absolutely wrong. Tell her you don't want her anywhere near your home. Nothing that allows any kind of discussion.
    – gnasher729
    May 7, 2017 at 22:40
  • @O.Jones Even when taking culture into consideration, this is the right way to go. Even among my Indian relatives, if I say they can't stay with me, then guess what?
    – Anoplexian
    May 8, 2017 at 22:12

You are receiving some pretty good advice already but I'd like to point out my own perceptions.

First, I don't think you're fully accepting who your mother is. This is a person who has caused you to have suicidal thoughts. Is allowing your mother back into your life worth your own life? I would hope you are answering a quick "no". If not, please seek professional counsel immediately.

Try not to make excuses for your mother or tell yourself she can change. Any behavior counselor or psychiatrist will tell you the best indication of future behavior is past behavior. In other words while people can change, they change slowly if at all. The choice on whether or not to continue to invest emotionally in someone who has hurt you is a personal one but when it comes down to such an extreme amount of hurt as to cause suicidal thoughts, I would strongly advise you work towards cutting this person out of your life as fully as possible. You may rationalize "but she's my mother" and I would rationalize back the a true "mother" would not cause her child such extreme emotional trauma. She may have given physical birth to you, but this monster you describe is not you "mother". Sometimes we need to remember that "family" is not the same as "blood". My view of "family" are those that lift me up and care about my well being. I do not consider all my "blood" my "family" and I also consider some "friends" my "family" because they truly care about my well being.

She's a risk to your emotional AND physical well being. She is not your family. Work on creating boundaries to keep this person out of your life. Your well being depends on it.

I recommend you immediately start the following:

  1. Stop providing financial aid to your mother. You are rewarding someone who has done nothing but hurt you. She doesn't deserve it and she needs to grow up. Part of growing up is learning that no one will provide for you but yourself and to at least be mature enough to financially support oneself.
  2. Do not allow this woman to stay at your house. Ever. You pay for your house. Not her. It is your house. Not hers. You being her child does not allow her visitational rights. You allow or deny visitational rights.
  3. Be sure to distance yourself emotionally from this woman. The more you let her into your life the more potential you are giving her for harm.
  4. Start investing emotionally in other people. Network with friends. Test people out and see who is there for you when your car breaks down. See who is there to bring you to the hospital when you break your leg. See who is willing to sit your dog when you need to go away on a business trip. Who is willing to put in the time and effort for you? Invest in those people and not people like your mother.

Here is some advice i can give you on how to do it. In terms of not letting your mom come to visit, when she asks if she can come simply say "no" without giving an excuse as to "why". Do not give a reason why, just say no. If she asks why say "because I don't want you here". If you're worried this might hurt her feelings I'd ask you why you think lying to your mother and pretending you have a good relationship when you don't is better. It's not.

If she asks why you don't want her there, simply tell her the truth. "I don't want you here because in the past you've said some hurtful things that you've never resolved with me. I do not think you are good for my well being and I am going to limit my interactions with people who aren't good for my well being." If at any point during the discussion your mom starts to "take over" the conversation or you feel you're getting "talked at" or she starts gaining ground, tell her you have to go and hang up on her. If she calls back, don't take it for a day or so. Let yourself recollect, gather your message, and reach out to her when you are ready again.

In terms of breaking your financial ties, I would give her a time period of warning. Perhaps 6 months. I would say "Mom, I don't think it's healthy for me to continue supporting your luxurious lifestyle and I think it's appropriate that you mature to the point of supporting your own financial needs. If she pushes back remind her that while you were going to school to get the job that provides her lavish lifestyle she provided no support towards your endeavor so why then should she benefit from something she did not support? Tell her in 6 months your financial support ends and that she'll need to financially support herself. If she starts throwing a fit, hang up on her and don't take her calls back for a while. Let her cool off. Never take her call. Call her back on your own time. If she starts throwing a fit again, hang up again. Train her that you hold the reigns in this relationship and she does not have any power over you. She needs your money. She needs you. Not the other way around. Start training her that the only way she gets to talk to you is if you let her. Start training her that the only way she gets to keep talking to you is if she does it kindly.

A life lesson I learned early and hold strongly to is this: Surround yourself with the type of people you want your life to be like. Ever seen that family member or friend of a friend on facebook ranting weekly about how they "hate drama" and yet somehow keep falling victim to drama in their life? It's because that person chooses to surround themselves with drama. They like drama. I am someone who has done very well surrounding myself with people who care about my well being. I do not have tons of friends. I have 2 close friends. I do not have tons of "family". I consider about 10 of my family members true family. My general advice to you is to start working towards cutting drama out of your life if you don't want it. Your mother is a source of it. Cut her out.

  • In most cultures it hurts your status (and self-respect) if you don't provide a minimal financial support for a parent. I mean subsistence, not luxury. Even if it's "blood" only: others' delusions build your reality, a reality where you need to live&socialize. Otherwise, very good points +1.
    – kubanczyk
    May 8, 2017 at 16:15
  • Maybe I didn't explain it well enough my mother would do all you have listed in the point 4 but she still manages not to keep a good bond with me. She is a sweet/nice lady, good with everyone but maybe believe that her son needs to do better, if not he is of no good. Whereas all I want is to live a happy/healthy life and other achievements just land in my way, but I really want to happy since I have seen the worst in life. I want to be appreciated for what I have instead of getting pointed to what I don't have. Thank you for your advice.
    – user27680
    May 8, 2017 at 20:27
  • 1
    @SiddharthSharma: There are two kinds of people who do the things in (4). The first kind is those who truly care for you. The second kind is those who do those things selfishly. You may think, how can one be selfish in helping others? Well, the question to ask is whether they would still do all those things if there was nobody else to notice it. If your mother is of the first kind, then she may have psychological or emotional problems of her own that she is wrongly pushing onto you, and both of you might need counseling. If she is of the second kind, then don't let her come near to you.
    – user21820
    May 9, 2017 at 8:21
  • My counsel would be this. Your mother cannot both be in my definition of "category 4" and still cause emotional trauma to the point of causing suicidal thoughts on your end. This goes all the way back to my first paragraph "I don't think you're fully accepting who your mother is". It's appropriate for a parent to want the best for their child. It's not appropriate to tell their child a message of "If you don't improve you're worthless". This is not a message of love and care. If you dig deeper into what she's saying I wonder if it's really you that she's disappointed in or herself.
    – Russ
    May 22, 2017 at 19:18

The first mistake you are making is in believing your mother's words. You need to act as an adult, assess the real situation and deal accordingly.

  • You have successfully completed a 4 year engineering degree
  • you are able to hold a good job
  • you are able to send financial support to your mother

All of these make you a winner.

  • your mother needs or benefits from financial support.
  • she appears to be attacking you with unsubstantiated remarks.
  • on what basis are you a loser? Perhaps you did not make the cricket team? So what?

So, who is the winner and who is the loser?

She is probably not calling you a loser, she is waiting for you to show her that you are an adult.

Now believe this assessment and run your life accordingly. Listen to your parents, discuss and resolve issues where you differ openly as adults.

Once you believe this fully, her actions will no longer harm you and you will be able to take them and deal with them without going to pieces. You can then have her in your house despite her remarks. When she sees that they are ineffective, she will soon tire of her game.

Now act as a leader, agree with both your parents that there is a social and emotional problem.

Discuss the likely outcome of her remarks - losing your job and career prospects, losing financial support.

Don't prevent her stay, defer it only if needs be. 'You are not welcome in my house' is not a solution, it perpetuates and escalates the problem.

Get your parents to agree on a 'verbal contract' for the stay - your house, your rules.

  • Define the duration of stay
  • Define the conditions of stay (this is a test stay, not permanent)
  • Put in actions that will ensue if the contract is broken.
  • Always calm discussions as they become heated, never raise your voice.
  • Maintain open communication channels, never allow yourself to 'not talk to her' again. This perpetuates the problem.
  • Be prepared to perform the actions required in the event of breach. She leaves immediately, possibly moves to a hotel. She has agreed to the rules.
  • Get an independent third party (e.g. religious or family leader, even a social worker) into the discussions and negotiations. Let them be arbitrator in the event of problems.

Try and keep your father neutral to the situation by not forcing him to become partisan. At most he can verify facts, but most of the time his mere presence and lack of dissension will be sufficient. i.e he is not called to testify, but will make observations and corrections of his own free will. Don't ever come between a man and his wife.

I faced similar challenges and relationships with my parents and have had an excellent relationship with my mother since resolving similar issues 30+ years ago, she is nearly 96.

My mom tested me by coming close to the boundaries and then backed down fully when she realised that I was on to her and going to go through with the prescribed actions. This was a fundamental turning point. You need to tell her that it is unacceptable before and when she tests the boundaries (which she will). (Why does all this sound so similar to parenting?)

Always take the high road, never lower your principles be firm and just.

  • 1
    I think it depends on the person. For this approach to work the person would need to be quite confident and ready for confrontation. Imagine that the mother moves in and then don't do anything that bad. But there are all these little things that makes you annoyed and upset. Then it is very arbitrary when to ask your mother to leave. You might feel it is too much for you to accept. But your mother would feel that she hasn't done anything (out of normal). So there will be confrontation and you are already not in a good state to have it. And it is your mother .
    – Ola M
    May 8, 2017 at 9:54
  • I do think trying to talk things over with the mother or even inviting her to stay might be a good idea at some point. But also think the OP would need to feel ready for it. And have it clearly in his mind what he is accepting and what to do when a boundary is crossed.
    – Ola M
    May 8, 2017 at 9:56
  • Very good advice, I tried to do the same but my mother got my got grandfather involved to vote in her favour. But I should definitely try the same thing again. Since the position is different now she may give my words more importance. Thank you again.
    – user27680
    May 8, 2017 at 20:35

My spiritual guide once told me, that people often tend to desperatly try to fix something, what is broken - just like adding supports and nailing planks to crippled building. But sometimes it is better to let something fall to clean up the rubble and build something better on that place. The same applies to relationships. Sometimes it is better to let a relationship fall to rebuild it from scratch on correct foundation than to keep it at all costs. And if this relationship cannot be rebuilt, it means, that it was based on lies from the beginning.

From your description, there is a "lie" in your relationship with your mother: she did not accept, that you are grown adult and that she should support your decisions rather than criticize them. Nothing good will ever come from such attitude. In Poland we have a saying, "Hell is paved with good intentions". This means, that though often people's intentions seem to be positive ("I'm doing it for your good"), actions resulting from that intentions are not. This seems precisely to be the case in your situation.

In my opinion, the correct thing to do is to start making decisions on your own and make your mother respect them. So make decision, that you won't allow her to come to your place and keep that decision. You don't have to be harsh, you can tell her that politely, but firmly. And if she comes anyway, simply don't let her in. Just say, "I asked you not to come here and I'd like you to accept my decision".

Keep in mind, that this is a drastic change both for you and her and - mostly likely - it will hurt - both you and her. But, what's important, some changes simply will hurt and you can do nothing about it. Be ready for that. Maintaining status quo to prevent you and her from pain in this case will result in the situation staying as it was.

Please take into consideration, that I'm from different culture than you and I may miss some cultural conditions. But I believe, that parent-to-child relation is universal and parent should show respect to child as much as child to parent.

Good luck. Be strong.

  • L'enfer est plein de bonnes volontés ou désirs ("hell is full of good wishes or desires") - Saint Bernard of Clairvaux c. 1150
    – kubanczyk
    May 8, 2017 at 15:57
  • Thank you for the useful advice, I agree with you. May God grand me the power to implement the same practically as it will be good for both me and my mother.
    – user27680
    May 8, 2017 at 20:42

I am answering because I felt like your situation is in many ways similar to my own. My mother was not a supportive influence during my youth and I ended up trying to commit suicide multiple times and ended up institutionalized. Right now, I have a tolerable relationship with my mother. I see her on holidays and a handful of other times. The key for me, was to stop caring about her, what she thinks, or how she feels. For a huge part of my life I let her negativity have such a big impact on me. When I was young, it was almost impossible to avoid this because of her control over my life, but after I left home she didn't have this direct, palpable control. At a certain point I came to the realization that I am myself and she is herself, and the feelings I battled with were because I was connected to her. Somewhere in my brain, I cared about what she thought. Somewhere in my brain, I was holding on to anger and wanted some form of apology. I had to let go and realize in my heart that what she says doesn't matter because I am me and that I was never going to have a resolution to anger from my childhood. I was never going to get an apology. I realized that she doesn't matter. If she loves me that doesn't matter. If she hates me it doesn't matter. Once I mentally cut the cord, I found I could actually interact with my mother in a cordial way, because she was just a person who might occasionally irritate me, but didn't have that pervasive control over me.

  • I was going the same way until my mother tried to force me to see her and worse stay with her, I was a doing and going well but now she wants to come and stay with me. I will do anything and even quit my lovely job to do that but I don't see it beneficial for me or her and neither I or she would want that. But she also has the urge to be able to control/love her son maybe. I don't see how it will help either.
    – user27680
    May 8, 2017 at 20:40

Just a short answer:

I have a quite good relation to my parents, but if we spend too much time together, it gets annoying for both sides, or even three sides (my wife's relation to my parents).

There is a saying: Guests&relatives are like fresh food. After three days they begin to stink...

What I want to say:

  1. Let her stay 2 or three days, but not as long as SHE want.
  2. Best: Try to reserve a room in a hotel for your mother or at neighbours

I understand you 100% and could elaborate more on my answer in private as I don't feel comfortable talking about it in here but this is the way I see it after thinking about it a lot for my personal case:

  1. You don't choose your parents.
  2. They don't deserve respect just for reproducing and having you as the kid.
  3. Being a father/mother is not just feeding you while you can not do it yourself.
  4. You would never let someone else that's bad in your life, right? Don't let her either.
  5. Enjoy your life
  • I agree with point 4 and 5, infact I would trade anything to get out such negativity in my life but this case turns out to be different.
    – user27680
    May 8, 2017 at 20:46
  • @SiddharthSharma what's different in this case? Is it because you are related to her more than to any random person?
    – sysfiend
    May 9, 2017 at 8:32

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