Am I a Mistake?

I am 21yrs old and my mother always tells me that I was a mistake. Does she hate me because she has not made peace with it?

– Aumer, Johannesburg, South Africa

Aumer, hatred is a strong word, but to tell anyone that she is ‘a mistake’ is to imply that she has no right to exist. Whatever her reasons, this is wrong and terrible parenting!

We don’t know why she is doing this, or what her perceptions are. Maybe insulting you is her way of pushing you out of the the nest??? Whatever she is doing, her choice of words indicates that she has a problem accepting life as it is — including you and herself too.

It’s not your job to take care of your mother, and the way she takes her problems out on you indicates that she needs psychological help. This is not your problem … or, rather, it is only your problem for as long as you are dependent upon her (including inside your head).

Really, about the only thing you can do is emancipate yourself. Even after leaving ‘home’, it’s hard to get free from the negative messages we have received from parents, but with some serious grieving work it can be done (whether you want to think of yourself as ‘an orphan’ or not is optional). Don’t try to help your mother — there’s nothing much you can do other than gently encourage her to get help. Take this as a signal that it’s time to take care of yourself.