Some articles about the signs your mom is controlling reference the reasons for a mother to be controlling. Some mothers may be anxious and fear for the safety of their children. Others may believe they're doing the right thing because they were brought up in a similar fashion themselves. Others exert control to compensate for a sense of personal helplessness. Some mothers just make mistakes and yet others simply don't know how to mother their children.
This article is not about those women. If you have heard other people using these justifications for your mother's behaviour and it doesn't sit right with you, then read on.
This article is about mothers who control for the sake of controlling. Yep, there are people who live their lives to dominate and manipulate others. Their whole life is a competition. They are always right, things have to be their way, they don't tolerate criticism and they thrive on chaos and drama because it makes it easier for them to control others around them.
There is a power imbalance in these people's relationships with the scales always tipped in their favor. And they're not just putting their thumb on the scales to tip it, they use any and all leverage they can to make sure that they control everything.
They can be downright cruel and horrible to their own children to the point that outsiders often don't believe the children when the children speak out about what their own mother has done to them.
So let's have a look at the signs your mom is controlling in a pathological way.
You realized a long time ago that your mom was lying to you and continues to do so, even when you call her out on it.
She blames you for everything that goes wrong.
She takes credit for anything that goes right, including your successes, your achievements, your good grades in school and so on.
Whenever you have a problem, she complains about how it affects her.
You are not allowed any privacy, either as a child or as an adult. She read your diaries, she walked into your bedroom any time she wanted to, she expected you to reveal everything to her, she looks at your mobile phone, she expects you to tell her everything you think and feel, and so on.
She treats you like her best friend, her therapist, her slave, her property. But not as her child.
She rarely shows affection. Some of these types of mothers don't hug their children or even tell them that they love them.
When she does show any affection or even does something nice for you, there are always terms and conditions attached. "I did this for you, now you have to…"
She claims she knows what's best for you. She may even tell you what you like and dislike.
She screams at you, curses even. She calls you derogatory names. You are so used to it that you think it's normal.
You are not allowed to make unilateral decisions. You have to run everything by her. And you know if you don't, there will be trouble. Sometimes you end up withholding information from her so as not to cause an argument.
If she ever finds out that you have withheld information from her she acts hurt or angry, which in turn makes you feel bad enough that you end up over sharing information with her.
She keeps you dependent on her. This happens in a myriad of ways. She criticises your decisions, your wants and your likes so that you end up doubting yourself. She makes you feel foolish for choosing certain things. She comes up with potential future difficulties that you haven't considered as a way to make it seem like she is all knowing. She will ignore the five benefits you got from making a certain decision and put lots of attention on the one negative aspect that occurred.
She criticizes you a lot.
She makes you feel guilty a lot. She makes you feel guilty about what you say, what you do, your clothes, your friends, your attitude, your beliefs, your perceptions, your decisions, about who you are, about not reaching your potential, about not living up to her expectations, about your weight, about your appearance, about not being more like your cousin, or your sister…
There are lots of rules. Explicit rules and implicit rules. Explicit rules are the one she verbalizes and implicit rules are the ones that are not verbalized but you know very well what they are. The rules she has for you do not apply to herself. She is quite happy to criticize you for doing something but then, without the slightest sense of hypocrisy, she will do this very thing in front of you. She will also change the rules when it suits her. She may not even tell you that she has changed the rules, you only find out when you're in trouble for having broken the new rule.
There are frequent crises, major upsets and dramas to deal with. They are all caused by the controlling mother.
As a child, you rarely invited friends over because you weren't allowed to or you didn't want people around your mother. When you did have friends over she made it very awkward for you, uncomfortable for them or a combination of both.
As an adult she still interferes in your relationships. This varies from your only being allowed to have friends if she allows it to her flirting with your friends, and of course, everything in between. You may catch her having "secret chats" with your friends or you may find out that she has actually lied to your friends about certain things.
If your mother treats your friends or spouse in the same way she treats you, criticizing them, telling them what they should and should not do and so on, then this indicates that the problem is your mother, not you.
If you find yourself arguing with your spouse about your mother, and you are defending your mother even though you know she's in the wrong, then you have a problem.
Do you get birthday presents and Christmas gifts? Or do you just get vouchers? When you went to a friend's birthday party, where you made to give one of your own toys, or did you go without a present for them?
Do you ever think that your mother doesn't know you or understand you because she doesn't buy you good presents or doesn't give you what you want? Have you ever considered that the opposite might be true, that she actually knows you very well and that's why she's not giving you what you want?
You are terrified of making mistakes because you know life is going to be miserable when she finds out. If your controlling mother has a photographic memory, and even a chronological list of your past mistakes that she has no trouble trotting out when she wants to make you feel bad, then be aware that this is not normal.
Do you sometimes hate your mother for the way she treats you? Do you then feel guilty because she is, after all, your mother and you should love her?
Do you think she is cold, unfeeling, cruel and you often wonder if she has problems expressing emotions?
When she's out in public is she different? Does she give the impression of being a kind, caring, all-round wonderful mother? Do you often look at her in such situations and think to yourself, "if only those people could see her at home!"
Does she offer to buy you things but then later uses that to make you feel indebted to her? Do you owe her money? Does she keep bailing you out and in this way keep you financially dependent on her?
Do you feel like she treats you like a child even though you're in your 30s or 40s? In other words, the relationship has never been updated by her even though you have matured?
Do you feel like she competes with you in everything? You look around and you see other parents who are pleased with their own children's successes, they actually want their children to do better in life than they did themselves, and you realize that your situation is the complete opposite?
Does she have a look or a tone of voice that paralyses you where you can hardly even think?
Does she tell lies or spread rumours about your own siblings to you?
Is she the only one who has all the information about each person in the family?
Are you afraid of her?
Has she made you afraid of going out into the world without her?
Are you on an emotional rollercoaster around her?
Even when she's not around do you still think about her a huge amount? Is your life organized around making sure you don’t upset her?
When you were a child, did you dream about the day when you could actually leave home?
Have you thought about leaving her and never speaking to her again?
Does she bad mouth you to everyone in the family to the extent that even if you told family members what she was like they wouldn't believe you?
Are you anxious, indecisive, not sure what you like or want, but very sensitive to other people's moods and, in general, a people pleaser?
Do you sometimes feel like you don't actually know who you are?
If you have suspicions that your mother is doing all these things on purpose to control you, then well spotted! This itself is a warning sign.
If you see many of these signs your mom is controlling in your own situation then it's very likely that your mom has a personality disorder. The other name for these people is psychopaths, sociopaths and narcissists.
If you are dealing with somebody like this, it's vital that you can recognize it because the way you deal with them is different.
A significant factor, for example, is that these people will not change. So you have to give up any hope that over time they will love you back, recognise how good you are or give you the approval that you desperately want. It's not going to happen. I know it's horrible and shocking to read that. But if you're dealing with a psychopath, then that's the way it is.
You have gone through childhood without a loving, caring mother. The woman you believed was looking out for you and taking care of you was actually abusing you. That may be a shock for you, but at some level you knew there was something wrong.
So what do you do about it? Well, you need to learn about mind control and psychopathy. You need to learn about what these people do to their victims. It's important to understand the techniques of these people, how they control you and why they control. Understanding these things allows you to take back control of your own life, to make your own decisions, to figure out what you actually like and want in your own life. This is a big deal, obviously, and is best done with the help of a professional.
It's one thing to marry a controlling person, or be recruited into a cult when you're 20 or 30. It's another thing to be born into a mind control environment. There are lots of added complexities to deal with.
Would you like to talk to someone about your situation?
If you think you are or have been in a cult or a destructive relationship, or a friend or family member might be in a cult and you want to talk to someone, send me a message on the Contact page and we can arrange to talk. All communication will be treated in the strictest confidence.
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