constant target for anger

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    Hi guys 🙂
    Thanks for being around when people like me (and others) need an ear and some advice!
    I’ve been struggling with something lately. I am 26 years old living with my parents (they need my support + it would be culturally inappropriate for me to live alone in my country). I have been struggling with minor depression recently, and while I do manage to fulfil some of my responsibilities I haven’t been able to meet them all. Part of it is becoming more absent minded and forgetful than I was previously. The reason I’m struggling more than I should is my mom I feel is also in a bad place. She is overwhelmed by the daily tasks required of her, and manifests it as anger towards me for a couple of months now. So she will get angry at something minor which is occasionally my fault but mostly not (she forgot something, I should have reminded her. I was late for work, couldn’t do the breakfast dishes) and hold onto the anger for the entire day, sometimes even be angry the next day. Out of 7 days a week, it feels like shes angry with me 6. We live in a small apartment with little to personal space and I find the negativity extremely draining. I get exhausted, become even less functional, she becomes angrier at me. It has become a cycle. I have tried talking to her about this, with the result that maybe she won’t lose her temper with me for one day at most before returning to normal.
    She and I have always had a very good relationship. My dad was abusive and it has always been me and her against the world, so even now, it is very difficult for me when she is upset with me and I cant fix it. I have had a lot of guilt my entire life for things that were not my fault and this past year I’ve been trying to let go of that. However, my mum’s anger at me is making that harder also.
    I would love some advice on how to handle this situation and also how to maybe emotionally detach so I don’t feel as upset when she is angry.
    Phew. This became quite a long post guys! thanks for reading all the way thru 🙂


    Hi shadeinthesummer,
    I have been through very similar conditions in my life..my mom takes it out in a similar way.i used to feel exhausted like you,i still do in some days.only i stay away from home and am exposed to this when i visit them or they visit me.
    It feels like walking on eggshells,which is already exhausting; also it has some influence on almost everything i do.
    For past few years, i remind myself everyday that no one deserves anger except themselves.
    Here are what i tried, they help me temporarily for few days, till i leave my home.
    Try to not listen to her spiteful words if any, whenever possible.. try to chant good words or gods name focussing on the meaningof what you chant.
    Whenever you feel down because of her anger, tell yourselfthat she is like a child throwing a tantrum, you are not her aim of hurt. I understood that anger, hurtful words are the way my mother learnt to communicate her feelings with the world,because she was taught it that way by her parents and my father. I need not learn the same. Acknowledge that her anger is a language, not the very meaning/intention of her act.

    Also, i found that my mother gets really irritable /angry when her blood glucose levels are low- she is a diabetic on treatment, she becomes very very spiteful when a meal gets delayed or she does not consume enough carbs for her anti diabetic medicines. So, me and my brother offer her(yes, we can only offer as it is difficult to talk to her when she is mad like that) something with sugar to maintain blood glucose levels. So if possible please get a physical check up to rule out any physical cause for this.
    I would also suggest to remind her continously about practising forgiveness, and compassion till you notice a long lasting change.

    Hope this helps.


    Hi sia!
    Thanks for sharing with me :).You’re right, it impacts how I schedule my study times, whether I meet with friends or not. I’m starting to see her anger as a cry for help, the only way I can think of helping her is taking her to talk to a therapist who can maybe help her figure out what is causing her to feel frustrated and overwhelmed. That is not a conversation I have been able to approach so far because I have been fearing her reaction. Also, I had not thought of low blood sugar. Will get it checked, she does take medications for diabetes.
    Just reading the practical tips you gave makes me feel better. I’m going to try and build them into habitual mental responses to her anger.
    Prayers and Love,


    Dear shadeinthesummer:

    I understand that you live with your mother because for one, she needs your financial support, and two: it is culturally expected that you live with her.

    Regarding living with her because she needs you brining in money. For that purpose, she needs to be nice to you, so that you will keep brining in the money. What she is doing is hurting her financial source, harming the one who makes the money she needs.

    Let’s say your mental health is unimportant to your mother, and by her own behavior, it is not. Can you impress upon her that it is a bad business practice on her part to keep abusing you; that she is taking away future money, the food on her table, the medicines she needs?

    This explanation to her may reach her and motivate her to stop hurting … herself; to stop risking poverty.

    When you are abused, as you are, it harms you. There is no way to not get harmed when abused. I did my best to take abuse and not get harmed: I developed an impressive ability to not hear the words, perceive them as noise. I developed an incredible ability to daydream and get lost in fantasy of a good life. But the abuse harmed me anyway.

    People keep asking for the following advice, and I am using my own words: How do I stay in an abusive situation without being hurt by it? My answer is: it is impossible.

    This is why I am suggesting you motivate your mother to stop abusing you by appealing to her fear of poverty, the fear of losing her financial support. Impress upon her how you already became forgetful and how your functioning had suffered, gotten worse over time. Which means it is likely to get even worse.



    Hi anita!
    Thanks so much for your input!
    I’m sorry I should have been clearer; my mum and I are financially independent of each other. The support is more in the form of errands/bank/doctors appointments that I carry out because my parents can’t for health reasons. I can base my argument around that too however I guess. This is not something she has always done however, she’s been my best friend pretty much my entire life. Which is why these two months have been surreal and weird. I remember once around ten yrs back, we went through a similar phase. That situation resolved when her gp prescribed anti depressants for her.



    What you described is a very common situation when 2 different generations live under same roof. A good friend of mine lived with her (sick) mum and dad till she got married and moved in another country (she was 31). They were really close and lovely family, best friends, as you described… But very often a frustration would build up and they used to go through meaningless arguments.

    I know that the best thing to do is to get some distance and boundaries, but I also know how complicated is that when you live in a traditional society ( cause I did, too). You just don’t wanna deal with the resentment of every single soul you have ever known, explain yourself, go through such drama… it’s harder to break free.

    I can not give you a simple solution, but I remember my friend got really more positive about life when she found the man she married afterwards. Do you have special someone in your life? It helps when you have a date that you are looking forward to, something that gives your day a meaning… Or find something you’d enjoy doing, that will shift the focus from the tiny apartment filled with negativity. If you have big expectations, pressure, combined with the criticism that you get, trust me, it would be weird if you don’t get depressed. Find an outlet, a reason to smile.

    Also, parents, as they grow old and get sick, they become like little scared kids sometimes. They often (like to) depend on their children, they are scared. They’d hang on to you as long as you let them.. Have you wondered for how much longer will this situation last? Cause both you and your mum must know deep inside that the day will come when you’d suppose to take care of your own children, you won’t be there all the time. Getting her a psychologist, or any other 3rd party assistance if possible (gradually), might be more beneficial for both of you. I am not sure what her illness is, but I understand if it makes her irritable. Maybe she needs medication for her anxiety, support group, alternative approach that will benefit her mental health.

    Don’t forget to take care of yourself the way you take care of your family. I know you are doing your best, but it is the parents’ duty to take care of the child. The child grows up and takes care of it’s own child, etc… That’s the way life goes. Not the other way around. My mum tries to guilt me up with the phrase ‘I raised you alone’ her whole life. But we are not ‘investment’ … never forget that 🙂


    Dear shadeinthesummer:

    Yes, I think you can base your argument around her need for you to do what it is that you are doing for her. The argument is basically: don’t bite the hand that is trying to help you because if you do, there will be no hand to help you.

    And maybe it is time for her to go back on anti depressants, whatever it takes for her to treat you well, that is what needs to be done.

    Please post again with your thoughts, feelings, and hopefully positive future developments.



    Hi Maria 🙂

    Thank you for this thought ” I know you are doing your best, but it is the parents’ duty to take care of the child. The child grows up and takes care of it’s own child, etc… That’s the way life goes. Not the other way around”. It helps me come to terms with a lot of decisions I’ve had to make recently. I don’t have anyone I’m seeing at the moment, or friends in my city, and I feel social isolation does contribute to my feeling low. I think we do need to figure out something more sustainable.

    Anita I have an update 🙂 . We had a conversation where I pointed out that she was harming her relationship with the people around her and that I couldn’t put up with the constant emotional pressure she was putting me under anymore. Things have improved since then thankfully. I’m hoping the improvement lasts while also pushing for her to talk to someone about the fact that she feels so overwhelmed.

    Thanks for all your help you guys! <3
    Love and prayers,


    Dear m:

    You are welcome and thank you for the update and good wishes. The improvement on your mother’s part has to be significant and ongoing. Please do post again with further updates, thoughts and feelings.



    Dear shadeinthesummer:

    I re-read your posts here and something new occurred to me. It may even be related to your new thread although I don’t know that yet.

    You wrote that your father used to be abusive, correct? And you and your mother formed a partnership of sorts against his abuse. Is my understanding correct: that your father is no longer abusive and as a result your partnership with your mother dissolved? Is it correct that once the Common Enemy (your father) was no longer a threat, that your mother’s anger came to the surface, directed against you?



    Hi Anita, just saw your new reply here..hmm I guess I have to think about this. It is true that we were closer when my dad was abusive, there were lots of chances for “grand gestures” in terms of protecting each other and that made us value our relationship and there was a lot of mutual gratitude. Even while she was angry recently if I made a “grand gesture” move it would improve things for a day or two.
    I think it has been two years now since my dad has stopped being abusive completely, even though it has been slowing for a while. Her anger has present for the past few months and wasn’t there before that (or it wasn’t a pattern that I could pick up on).
    Something did happen in December. Arranged marriages are part of my culture, and there was an interest shown in me from a guy’s family. I did not say no, but did lay the condition that I wanted to talk to him before deciding. My mom initially did not respond to this either positively or negatively. She appeared to accept it as was. My dad , I believe, has problems with the thought of me leaving home. He has sabotaged university choices that would involve me leaving home (by refusing to send documents that the uni required) and does use emotional black mail if I have a work trip. He put his foot down and absolutely refused to consider the proposal (which I was secretly relieved by. Based on surface impressions I am pretty certain my answer would have been a no. I am also not mentally ready or willing to get married right now). My aunt who did talk to my mum about this, thought it was unreasonable of me to ask to speak to the guy. The end result was that my mum laid the blame for the situation not working out on me, even though I was willing to at least explore the option, with reservations.I had also expressed concern because the guy was settled in a different country, and I do not think I can move away permanently as it is very clear to me that my parents need me to be present in the city at least. This caused a lot of defensiveness from my relatives.When I made career decisions based on this everyone was fine however.
    I was very confused about what was happening during this entire incident, there was a lot of deception and manipulation and I’m not sure what anybody wanted at all at this point. By the end of it, I got the feeling my mum wanted me to say yes immediately and get married, which is not what she had expressed initially.
    I wondered if there was residual resentment from this episode that maybe resurfaced when she wasn’t happy. Around 10 years ago, she went though a similar period of anger with me. At that point I was young, she was the one who dropped me and picked me from school and extra curricular activities, and she was depressed, so she found the routine overwhelming I think. I did not realize she was depressed, our GP did and started her on her anti depressants, after which her lethargy and anger both resolved.
    I am sorry for the information over load! There are just so many circumstances which seemed relevant!
    Thanks and love, Anita, and thanks for giving me the opportunity to bring all of this to the surface.


    Dear shadeinthesummer:

    What are those “grand gestures” you mentioned: can you give me an example or two?

    If you’d like, can you tell me how was your father abusive: in what ways?

    You wrote regarding the arranged marriage idea that you didn’t know what your mother wanted, that maybe she wanted you married and living in another country. But you are sure that your father wants you to live at home and that is why he was against that marriage.

    What do you think motivates your mother; what does she want, do you think?



    Well he was never physically abusive. He was paranoid, angry and controlling. Everyhting had to be done exactly the way he said it should be or he would get angry. For example if asked me to pass a bowl he would say “pass it from the left side”. If I went around the right instead he would see it as disobedience and get angry. There were multiple such episodes daily. if he got angry he would yell for hours and we would not be allowed to get up or move. If I had to go to the bathroom while he was talking he would get angry and would not let me go. I remember sitting in one place being yelled at everyday for 3-4 hours but I don’t remember the content, I would tune out. It could be something I did or something that went wrong around the house generally. We had to do whatever he wanted irrespective of what was going on in our lives. If he wanted to drive around the city for hours we would do that it did not matter if I had homework or tests. If I brought up school work he would threaten to take me out of school. Once I remember I had 104 fever and I had to go walking with him because he wanted exercise. We were not allowed to sleep at night. He would take my moms salary from her and being in financial control allowed him to be financially abusive as well. He would take our cell phones and house keys and we would not be allowed to talk to people without him being present. We weren’t allowed to cry or get angry.If we were quiet he would get angry too. He threatened to kill my mum once, I do not take that threat seriously now but I did when it was made because I was very young. He also would play tricks on her like mixing a large amount of tobacco or something in her food to make her sick. Those are the specifics I remember, I don’t remember everything.
    The grand gestures were sort of like, if it looked like he was picking on me and I was having trouble dealing with it that day, she would do something to call attention to herself and he would turn his anger on her instead. I would do the same for her if it looked like she had had too much. We would also defend each other if he it looked like he was going to interfere negatively in one of our lives (making mum quit her job or taking me out of school). Even with smaller things we defended each other.
    I think being in the same country doesn’t matter to mum, she just wants me to get married, she doesn’t particularly care to whom. When I realized this it felt like a huge betrayal. She was forced to stay in her marriage by her family and my fathers, and now I think she believes all of her sacrifices and suffering were for maintaining her marriage. I have always been very clear that I do not think marriage as the most important aspect of my life, and I think that makes her feel as if I’m negating her life choices (the choices she was forced into making ).This is an assumption, however, Ive no proof she feels this way.
    With my dad, if I travel for work he will call 10 times a day. when I get back home he wont stop talking about how much he missed “his child”. Before I leave he goes on about how much he will miss me. He makes me feel guilty about being away from home. That is why I feel he does not me to get married to anyone, that would involve me leaving home. To be honest neither of my parents knew enough about the guy or his family to be “for” or “against” the match. They didn’t even know his name (I’m serious). ALl we knew was his city and his job.
    To clarify about my dad, he suffers from bipolar disorder. He was very noncompliant with his treatment for a very long time. I had a nervous breakdown when I was 16 and he became compliant after that. He would still go through manic phases but they were a lot more manageable. for two years now he has become very old and frail and hasn’t had a manic phase.


    Phew. lol


    Dear shadeinthesummer:

    I endured similar episodes with my mother, similar to the ones you describe with your father.

    It seems like there was a quota of anger, a certain amount of anger that your father produced in the household. Once he got old and frail and maybe the medication worked, and he stopped producing the Anger Quota, your mother did. She is filling in for him.

    You asked at the end of your original post: “how to handle this situation and also how to maybe emotionally detach so I don’t feel as upset when she is angry.”

    I have no doubt that you already detached and are able to detach from any of your parent’s rage as much as humanly possible. That detachment, or dissociation is automatic: the body does it by itself, the brain specifically. You don’t have to choose to do anything, it happens. You automatically tuned out, shut down awareness as much as possible, escaped to daydreaming, distracted yourself best you could.

    You can’t beat how effective nature is, so there is no more detachment you can come up with than nature already afforded you.

    You mentioned you felt guilty your whole life for what you are not guilty of. So have I. I know guilt very well- I felt guilty for my mother’s episodes. After all, she said I caused them and she said so with much conviction.

    It is only recently that I believe those were not my fault. I knew on some level that it was not my fault but emotionally I believed those were my fault until recently. Not only that, but I focused on her pain, her feelings, her welfare, as if I didn’t exist: as if I didn’t exist in my own body, my own life.

    So I am under no delusions that you will leave that home-of-rage, especially with the cultural convention of a single woman not living alone. But even without that cultural norm, your father’s manipulation is enough to keep you there.

    Interesting he was overly cautious, you wrote elsewhere, about you riding a bike or rollerblades, did I get it right? He was afraid for your safety? But he was not afraid of your safety when he abused you repeatedly and horribly as he did.

    Back to what to do: I am impressed that you are doing as well as you do, but of course, you are paying the price of the abuse started by your father during your formative years and now continued by your mother. Every time she is angry at you, it is not good for you. If you will not move away from that home-of-rage for as long as you are unmarried, I hope that one day you will get married to a decent man who will not (!!!) be an angry man.

    Very important, first thing to make sure when and if you consider a man for marriage: you must choose a man who is naturally calm, laid back. I can’t emphasize this enough! Nothing matter more for your well being about a man as a potential husband.

    If you do get married, I think it will be fine if you live in another city and country, if you manage and heal from the unjustified guilt.

    Until you get married- and maybe you won’t- I hope your father is permanently under control (of age, frailty, medication, whatever keeps him not abusive!). What I suggest regarding whomever is filling the Anger Quota at any time, your father or your mother, that either one or both will be medicated. I would definitely push for that. You mentioned anti depressants and sleeping pills that your mother is taking- make sure the supply doesn’t run out.

    You have your anxiety to deal with in your professional life and social life, and you have been doing so well, considering the abuse you suffered and still… always consider this anxiety, don’t ignore it, when making choices.

    I sure hope that you do make contacts with people who are calm, be it friend and a husband to be. Safety is your “unconscious motivation” (the other thread) and your real need.


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