How To Improve Your Relationship With Your Mum

By Anna Gleason

Growing up, my parents divorced when I was very young and my mother got custody of me. She didn’t have any other kids, so it was just the two of us. She wasn’t a perfect parent and I could never expect her to be, but she definitely crossed some lines and I had to learn for myself the hard way how to deal with it.

So if you are dealing with a mother that leaves you stressed, energy drained, or just overall upset all the time, but don’t quite want to cut off communication, here’s how I learned how to cope: 

1. Set boundaries. 

And set them firmly. Tell your parent exactly what you will and will not accept. You can say, “Mom, I love you, but there are things that are just NOT allowed to be spoken about.” This can include, but is not limited to: your weight, your finances, your personal choices, etc. Sometimes just making it clear that certain things are off limits for you can help her see that she’s stressing you out.

2. Enforce those boundaries.

Unfortunately, many times with a toxic mother, setting boundaries doesn’t always work the first time. Some toxic moms, particularly narcissistic ones, feel entitled to know and contribute to every single aspect of your life, because well, she gave birth to you and raised you.

 It doesn’t have to be like this as an adult. In order to make sure your boundaries are not being crossed, you need to create a consequence, which is up to you what it should be. For example, say you’ve told your mom that she is not allowed to discuss the way you raise your children, and she brings it up in casual conversation. You need to choose a consequence for her. You could say, “hey, so, I told you that topic is not to be talked about, and due to you bringing that up, I’m going to end the conversation here.” Then, you can go x amount of time without speaking to her, or whatever consequence you feel is necessary to get the point across more. It may seem a little crazy to punish a parent, but remember, this is geared for women who don’t want to cut off communication with their toxic mother completely, and need to find a way to manage the relationship they do want to preserve. 

3. Be careful what you share.

I think a big part of why moms can be so unintentionally toxic is because, hear me out, they actually do have our best interest at heart. You’re her daughter, and she just wants the best for you, and there’s a part of her that doesn’t trust your judgement, so she takes it upon herself to tell you what to do. You can sympathize with this, but understand that if you just don’t overshare, she really can’t comment on much. Part of the reason why many women don’t cut off their toxic mothers is because they simply want a relationship with their mom, they just don’t know where to draw the line. You can have a phone conversation once a week with her without sharing the intimate details of an argument you had with your husband. Talk about the weather, talk about her life, talk about your dog, talk about anything, but stay guarded. If you don’t open up, she can’t cross any lines.

Dealing with a mother that doesn’t know what to do with herself can be hard, but you don’t necessarily have to cut her off. It’s a personal choice, and if you want a relationship with her, that’s perfectly fine, just do what you need to do to protect your heart.

Anna Gleason   @theannagleason

Anna Gleason



A bit about me

My name is Anna Gleason, I am a twenty something year old who enjoys finding the beauty in the little things in life. Where some people may find messiness, I find beauty. And I think that’s what’s taught me so much self love: knowing that I can be a mess, but accepting that I’m a beautiful mess.