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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hello, I was wondering about a situation I have had with my

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Hello, I was wondering about a situation I have had with my well as one of my siblings. I had alot of difficulty in this Mom would get it into her head that I was this terrible person...she wouldn't let up on the idea and became very mean and abusive towards me...she became so difficult that I decided to move out many years ago...even my Dad at the time told my Mom that the reason I moved out was because of her. Over the years she has always, strangely, refused to acknowledge her behavior...even to the point of saying that I was making up lies about her and she has told others that I have a "problem" I have never seen such strong denial. It is bizarre to me...others who know me better and here my story about my Mom will say she has a problem but they don't know what to make of it either. My Mom is 82 now and has slight dementia...but every so often she still brings up the past as if I did something wrong or terrible in that I moved out. Others don't see her "problem" because most of the conversations we have about it are in private and usually ends up with my getting upset and walking out. Because she seems to have no "awareness" of her delusion she will speak to others like she is very normal and so some people get the false idea that what she says is accurate. She finally told someone at the center where we go eat and this younger lady (thank God) who has experience with people from my culture heard the comment my Mom made about me and with understanding didn't quite believe my Mom...because she knew how harsh parents from my culture can be. My aunt told me my Mom is a very proud person and I have suspected my Mom is very narcissistic. Her behavior is extreme and inflexible. Any opinions or ideas on the matter will be helpful. Thank you
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like your mother might have a personality disorder. When someone acts as she does, hurting you, blaming you, etc, it is likely that she suffers from a personality disorder.

Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional or environment of some sort. It can also have cultural influences as well, though it is mostly about how she was raised. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed.

Knowing what your mother might have and how to react to her behavior can help. While there is no way to diagnose her without seeing her for an evaluation, the behavior you describe sounds like narcissistic or borderline type. Here are some links that can help you figure out what she might have:

Unlocking Your Family Patterns: Finding Freedom From a Hurtful Past by Dave Carder M.A., Earl R. Henslin, John S. Townsend and William Henry Cloud

Many people can have some traits of one personality disorder or they can have some traits of a couple of personality disorders. By finding a personality disorder that seems to fit, you can at least know what you might be dealing with.

When dealing with someone with a personality disorder, it is helpful to keep in mind that they are not reacting to who you are as a person or even what you are doing. They are going by cues they learned long ago on how to relate to their world. And their responses can seem overwhelming and out of touch with the actual situation. They can also be very hurtful and hard to cope with. Your mother's focus on you can be a symptom of her problem. It is not uncommon for people who have a personality disorder to pick on one person as a target, which is similar to bullying behavior.

If your mother won't get help or change in any way (common with someone with a personality disorder), you may have to change how you interact with her. One thing that helps is to see what she does as about her own issues and not you. Also, think of one phrase you can say to her that neutralizes anything she might say. such as "I'm sorry you feel that way". That usually shuts down the person and you can make a quick exit out of the situation.

You can also talk to others who are trusted friends or family. Let them know that you have tried to help your mother, but that she continues to have issues. Ask them to tell others that when the topic is brought up about what your mother says in public. This can help you protect yourself and your reputation.

I hope this has helped you,
This resource may also help you:


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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I sent another question not sure if it went through...please let me know if it didn't

No it didn't come through. I am sorry about that. Is it ok to resend it?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

my second question is about my oldest sister...she is ten years older than sister, knowing this situation with my Mom seems to have decided that the best way to get herself out of having to deal with my Mom had tried to "dump" so to speak my Mom on me. Her demeanor has been one of hostility because she has accurately perceived that I didn't want to be the one to do it. One day she came at me in a rage because I told my Mom I was busy and so my Mom called her to get help. My sister has this irrational resentment towards me. It's like she doesn't care what kind of psychological/emotional harm my Mom would have had on me if I decided to live with her...all she cares is that the matter would have been taken away from her hands. She doesn't show concern for me or my well being and shows a strange demeanor towards me. It's like she's coldly manipulative and only thinks of herself. I recently discovered that she has put my Mom's house in her name and got my Mom to sign paperwork that she didn't know she was seems she is trying to make herself the sole inheritor of my Mom's house. All financial support is going to herself and her children and she shows no concern for me. When my Mom tried to talk about me out of concern my sister tried to dissuade her out of helping me. When I asked her for a ride some time ago her reply was "you can walk"...yet in front of others she will be "fake" and show this strange kindness which I don't know what to make of it...she reminds me of an "almost psychopath" because of these contradictory behaviors. When she saw a collage that a friend made me her response was "I could kill you" the pretty gift made her that angry. Yet on facebook she presents herself as a very normal loving person towards her grandchildren and others. My cousin who knows my situation and is observing all of this agrees that her behavior is cold (at least towards me)...when we were growing up I got to do some things that she didn't and maybe? this is part of what makes her so resentful.

She seems to coldly manipulate things without any concern for the effects it will have on others.

It sounds like your sister may also have a personality disorder, maybe as a result of being raised by your mom, or because of other circumstances. She could also have sociopathic tendencies but without the ability to see her and do an evaluation it is hard to tell what her diagnosis might be or what is causing her behavior.

What you can do is to try to stay away from her as much as possible. You cannot change her so you have to react in ways that help protect you. If you can try to not contact her or to be a part of any situation. If you need to be, then try the techniques I recommended with your mother. Also, it may help you to try therapy not only for the support, but to help you talk about the stress for dealing with your family.


Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have stayed away over the years and unfortunately have also run across the problem of others not understanding...because I got some support from friends it is hard to convince others of the real situation...some people think I am exaggerating or not seeing things correctly or that I could fix the problem if I just was "nice" or some ridiculous advice like that...what is strange is that if one observes the interaction between my sister and her daughter and grandchildren one gets the picture of such normalcy. I'm glad now that I distanced myself over the years. My middle sisters reaction does not help either...she told me...unbelievably...that the behavior with my Mom wasn't "that bad" and she writes off my oldest sisters demeanor as just that's the way she is and she is friends with my oldest sister. My middle sister has become the most like my Mom and she is the closest to her... my Mom managed to turn my middle sister against me... only now that my Mom has dementia and can no longer fully function mentally, she can no longer fully continue her past behavior and so my sister, not having someone repeatedly influencing her against me, is acting more normal towards fact if my Mom had not created the problems she did as well as my oldest sister...I would never have had the problems with other family members believing their distortions and would have remained close to my nephews and nieces. Now, thank God, my nephews and nieces have had enough experience with the family that they see why I had the problems I did and they have all become friends with me again...because they saw there was no real substance to the remarks my Mom and my sisters were making.

It is good that your nieces and nephews as well as your friends understand what you are dealing with. It may help to consider therapy as well. Talking this out with someone who can support you and offer you guidance can make a huge difference.


If you feel your original question and related follow ups have been answered, I'd appreciate a positive rating on the answers I have provided. Thank you!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry to take up so much of your time but I was wondering in your years of practice have you heard similar stories to mine?

Yes, often. It is more common that most people realize. And the answers I provided you were from my experience with others like you and what helped them.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

thank you, XXXXX XXXXX tears to my helps me to know...I don't know enough about other peoples lives and so am quite ignorant in these matters...thank you for your feedback...I like hearing the opinion from experienced therapists like yourself

thank you Smile


You're welcome! I am glad I could help. If you would take a minute to rate my service as positive, I would appreciate it very much. I am not reimbursed for my answers otherwise. Thank you.

Take care,

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