The bond between a mother and child is complex and multifaceted.

As children, we rely heavily on our mothers for guidance, support, and love. So, it is natural for us to feel deeply connected to them and to crave their affection. However, despite their importance, mothers have a complex and stressful role. They are responsible for providing for their children’s needs, protecting them from harm, and showing them love. Unfortunately, not all mothers know how to fulfil these roles. You are not alone if you are an adult who has ever asked yourself, “Why does my mom hate me?”

In this article, we will explore some of the toxic behaviour patterns your mother exhibits that may make you feel that she hates you and things you can do to cope with feeling unloved. It is a painful topic to discuss, but an important one for anyone struggling to bond with their mother.

Content Warning: The following content discusses physical and sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other traumatic experiences that may trigger some readers. If you feel uncomfortable or distressed by these topics, please proceed cautiously. You may also wish to consider seeking support from a mental health professional.

Why You May Feel That Your Mother Hates You

Statements such as “My mother hates me” or “Why does my mom hate me?” may occasionally cross the minds of some people. There could be many reasons why a child (of any age) may think their mom hates them.

Generally, these thoughts stem from negative behaviour patterns that one might have noticed in their mother. Perhaps they feel neglected or invalidated and have perceived the emotion as hatred.

A child may mistakenly assume that their mother’s aggressiveness is directed at them if they frequently witness such behaviour. It could also be that the child is a teenager going through a complicated growth spurt and has naturally assumed that their mom is always against them.

Although all these reasons may be valid, it is nearly impossible to pinpoint one specific cause without knowing the context of the situation or the relationship dynamics.

Moreover, it is important to remember that experiencing a smooth-sailing relationship all the time with anyone is nearly impossible. Disagreements or feelings of annoyance every now and then are bound to surface in every household. This also applies to monogamous, non-monogamous, platonic and romantic bonds that one may have with friends, partners, or acquaintances.

Common toxic behaviour patterns that may make you think, “Why does my mom hate me?” include:

  • constant criticism;

  • belittling or insulting your emotions;

  • controlling and displaying manipulative behaviour;

  • denying needs;

  • being emotionally or physically abusive;

  • playing the victim; and

  • sabotaging relationships, or personal growth.

With that in mind, we will go in-depth into some of these patterns in the next section. 

Your Mother Constantly Criticises You

Being on the receiving end of constant criticism from your mother can feel incredibly demotivating and hurtful. Especially if this pattern triggers thoughts like “Why does my mom hate me?” or “What should I do if my mom hates me?”.

You may want to consider the idea that criticism is not always a bad thing. On the one hand, receiving honest feedback, thoughts, and opinions about how we handle things can be incredibly helpful in our personal growth. But on the other hand, listening to harsh or insensitive comments can be very upsetting, especially when those comments come from our mother.

There could be many underlying reasons for the strained relationship between mother and child. For example, it is possible that your mother is dealing with personal issues or working long hours, leaving her emotionally unavailable to engage with you. Alternatively, you may be going through an emotionally tough phase, and your mother may struggle to cope with your changes.

While constructive criticism can be helpful, harsh reviews about every aspect of your life can damage your self-esteem and self-worth. If your mother consistently finds fault with everything you do, including minor matters such as your choice of clothing or perfume, it may be a sign that she does not have your best interests at heart.

It is important to communicate with your mother about how her response makes you feel. Expressing your feelings to her can open up a conversation about how she can show her concern and love for you in a way that you want.

Your Mother Does Not Spend Quality Time With You

Do you often wonder, “Why does my mom hate me?”. As we grow older, it is common for our relationships with our parents to evolve and change. And while life changes and busy schedules can create distance, it is always tough when your mother seems to avoid spending time with you.

It is essential to recognise that there could be valid reasons for this behaviour, and it may not directly reflect her feelings towards you. For example, it could be that she is swamped with work, struggling with her health, or dealing with personal issues that take up most of her time.

After all, it appears that as soon as we grow up, there hardly ever seems to be enough time to balance work, life,  and personal and social needs.

However, if she frequently cancels plans or rushes through your time together, it may cause you to feel hurt. It may also lead you to question whether she genuinely wants to spend time with you.

While it is not easy to come to terms with the fact that your mother may not want to spend time with you, it is crucial to have an open and honest conversation. Discuss your feelings with her and try to find out if you can do anything to improve your relationship.

However, remember that you do not have to take on the entire responsibility of rebuilding the bond. The effort has to be mutual.

The thought, "Why does my mom hate me?" can alienate you and leave you feeling lonely.

You Feel Unsafe in the Relationship

If you feel unsafe or are experiencing any abuse in your relationship with your mother, it might be challenging to come to terms with what you are going through. You are not at fault for any abusive behaviour directed at you.

Abuse can take many forms, and it may not always be obvious. However, red flags can include yelling, arguing, name-calling, humiliation, degradation, isolation, and other manipulative behaviours. If you suspect you are experiencing abuse, seeking help as soon as possible is important.

Talking to a teacher or a school counsellor can be helpful if you are still in school. It may be harder to navigate where to turn if you are an adult, but reaching out to family and friends can be a great source of support.

Support groups are available for survivors of abuse that can provide a sense of community and help in healing. Booking an online or offline session with a professional therapist is one of the many ways to cope with abuse.

Setting boundaries and limiting exposure to toxic behaviour can be emotionally draining, but it is necessary for your wellbeing. If you are a victim of abuse, remember that your mother’s behaviour does not reflect your worth. You are responsible for her actions.

If you are in immediate danger, reach out to your emergency services as soon as you can.

Your Mother Projects Her Emotions Onto You

Sometimes, several factors, such as family stress, parenting concerns, and ageing, might trigger parents’ reactions. If you think your mother hates you, it may also be because of a psychological mechanism called projection. Projection is a process in which an individual (eg a parent) disowns their unpleasant emotions, desires, or traits and projects them onto another person, often without realising it.

For instance, a parent who has experienced abuse as a child may project their unresolved anger and pain onto their own child. The parent may perceive the child’s behaviour as disrespectful or disobedient and react angrily and with hostility. However, in reality, the child’s behaviour is not the root cause of the parent’s emotional reaction.

Projection is often an unconscious process, and individuals may not be aware that they are projecting their emotions onto others. However, the effects of projection can damage relationships and lead to adverse outcomes for both the projector and the recipient of the projection.

Unresolved trauma in your mother’s life

Parents often carry unresolved trauma from their own lives that can impact their relationship with their children. This trauma can lead to misattunement, where parents may be unable to respond appropriately to their children’s needs, especially during periods that may trigger their own traumatic experiences.

It is crucial to remember that a parent’s unresolved trauma is not the child’s fault. However, as self-protection mechanisms increase, parents may act out their defence mechanisms on their children, leading to incorrect perceptions and unhealthy development. This can often cause a child to feel unloved and unwanted. It can even result in the development of resentment and anger towards their mother.

Understanding your mother’s unresolved trauma and how it has impacted your relationship can help you come to terms with the situation. There might be a lot of emotions to unpack during this journey. Hence, a psychologist can simplify the process through therapeutic techniques.

Your mother’s emotion might come from a place of love

Nonetheless, as mothers have a demanding role, their love can sometimes manifest in ways that we may not understand. If you are questioning whether your mother hates you, it is important to consider the reasons behind her behaviour.

One possible explanation is that your mother may be pushing you to achieve more than she did. While this may feel like criticism or even hatred, it could be her way of showing love for you.

Consulting a psychologist specialising in family therapy or trauma therapy can be a great resource to help you navigate and nurture your relationship with your mother.

What Should I Do if My Mom Hates Me? 

Feeling like your mother holds animosity towards you can negatively impact the quality of your life. In addition, if left unacknowledged, experiencing this pain can lead to more distress, sometimes contributing to conditions like depression and anxiety.

Below are a few ways to cope if the thought, “Why does my mom hate me?” consistently surfaces.

Consider Individual or Family Therapy

If you are struggling with the emotional turmoil that comes with feeling hated by your mother, individual therapy can be a beneficial resource. Therapy is a safe and confidential space where you can unpack your feelings and experiences and work towards developing coping strategies that can help you feel more empowered and in control.

In individual therapy, you will be able to explore the root causes of your distress and manage difficult thoughts such as, “Why does my mom hate me?”. You will work towards healing from the emotional wounds that your mother’s behaviour may have caused. You will also learn techniques to help manage the anxiety and stress of having a strained relationship with a parent.

A therapist can provide you with a non-judgmental ear as you speak about your challenges. They can also offer insights and practical strategies to help you navigate them. The therapy process is tailored to meet your individual needs and can help you find peace, resolution, and inner strength.

On the other hand, family therapy is a valuable option for individuals dealing with strained relationships with their mothers. The therapeutic process is designed to bring family members together in a safe and supportive environment where they can explore and work through their differences.

In family therapy, you can share your thoughts and feelings with your mother in a mediated setting. A trained therapist will be there to constructively guide the conversation.

This helps you both better understand each other’s perspectives and find ways to move forward more positively and productively. While family therapy can be challenging at times, it can also be a transformative and healing experience.

Family therapy can provide a safe space for both mother and child to work through their issues and improve their relationship.

Distance Yourself

When you feel like your mom hates you, it may be tempting to avoid any communication with her altogether. If you constantly think, “Why does my mom hate me?” This tip might be helpful for you.

Understandably, the thought of confronting your mother about her behaviour might be daunting. But clear and honest communication can help you express how her actions hurt you and help her understand your perspective. By using “I” statements to convey your emotions, you can avoid blaming or accusing her. This can give rise to more productive conversations.

Example: “I feel sad that I do not get to spend much time with you.”

While expressing your feelings is important, it is also essential to listen to your mother’s perspective. She may have a different view of the situation. It might perhaps work better to acknowledge her feelings and try to understand her narrative.

Sometimes, open communication may not always lead to an immediate solution. It may take time for both you and your mother to process your emotions and work towards a healthier relationship.

In some situations, however, directly communicating with your mother might produce opposite results or further weaken the relationship. For instance, during emotional abuse, it may benefit you to maintain a safe and emotional distance from each other.

Adjusting Your Communication

This leads us to our next coping tip. If you think, “My mom doesn’t like me” or “Why does my mom hate me for no reason?”, it may be helpful to establish boundaries during your conversation with your mother. Boundaries can help both parties understand what behaviour is and is not acceptable and can help prevent future conflicts.

For example, you may want to establish a boundary that you will not tolerate verbal abuse from your mother or that you need space and time to process your emotions before engaging in a conversation with her. It is important to be firm in your boundaries and to communicate them clearly while also respecting your mother’s boundaries.

Communication is a process. You can start to work on your relationship by reflecting on what makes you feel comfortable. This may mean limiting in-person contact, moving out of your mother’s house, or seeking the help of a therapist or mediator to facilitate communication.

Remember that improving your relationship with your mother is not solely your responsibility. If communicating with your mother is too tricky or harmful, it is okay to distance yourself from the relationship for your peace and wellbeing.


In conclusion, children need and deserve parental love. While it is common to assume that parents, especially mothers, naturally love their children, this is not always the case. Sometimes, good intentions alone are not enough to give children the nurturing love they need to thrive.

It is crucial to challenge negative behaviours within family life and not let the myth of unconditional parental love prevent us from breaking these painful patterns. By doing so, we can work towards developing genuine feelings and regard for one another.

Research shows that children whose parents have resolved their past traumas and issues have a better chance of enjoying closer, more positive interactions with them. Regaining feelings for themselves seems to be a key element in altering child-rearing practices in a more loving direction.

You may ask yourself, “Why does my mom hate me?”. But having these concerns is not your fault; instead, it may be a sign to address the underlying issues. It is important to seek support and resources to help you cope with the emotional pain you may be experiencing. Remember, you deserve love and care. And if your situation allows – it is never too late to work towards a healthier relationship with your mother.

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