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Living with ignorance and conflict

Community Member

I'm a young person who has suffered from mental health and physical health issues.

Usually, I stay relatively to myself at home as my mother is prone to outbursts of anger at very small or seemingly minor things. Sometimes, she's in a bad mood and takes it out on me. I've grown relatively used to it at this point.

My dad had heart surgery and unfortunately suffered a stroke as a consequence. This past year has been devoted to helping him get better, and I absolutely place his health paramount over mine in this scenario. But I really did think my mum would be more sympathetic to my own issues after everything that happened.

I guess that wasn't the case because she seems to ignore my boundaries I have set in the case of conflict. I struggle in understanding others' emotions and need them to be verbally expressed. I've communicated this to my mum but it seems she forgets in her outbursts. I've been called a couple derogatory names when this happens, and she expects me to know everything she feels, when it's already hard enough for me to even decipher how someone feels. However, the worst part of it is she's never apologised to me, when I've asked her if she could she either ignores me or gets mad again. I apologise to her whenever I accidentally go back to my blunt tone (it comes off as standoffish, so I've made an effort to give my voice a happy tone consistently) and other minor things. However, never once in my life have I received an apology for various names, which I won't repeat.

This was the same until a few weeks ago, where I refused to back down until she agreed to give me the same respect she demands from me and apologise for ignoring everything I say and never accepting when she's wrong. My dad told me later that's the first time he's ever heard her apologise to anyone.

Unfortunately, this was short lived as soon enough, she had a few glasses of wine and started yelling at me for forgetting to shut the door. Back and forth, as always.

But this time, I finally was able to express emotions properly. I broke down crying, and had a panic attack. My chest felt so full while I sobbed. It was terrible, I felt like I was drowning in myself. This was the first time in my life I've felt genuine sympathy from my mum.

I've been holding onto this for a while now. Is it just an off chance of sympathy and will everything go back to walking on egg shells or will she stop blaming me for every minor thing?

Thanks for reading to some girl's ramblings. Just a vent.

4 Replies 4

Hi whichwayhome,

Welcome to the forums and thank you for sharing your story with us here.

We are sorry to hear that things have been so difficult at home recently. We understand this must be such a hard situation for you, especially as you are having to go through it all by yourself. These are very heavy feelings that you are having to sit with, so please know that you never have to go through this alone, and support is always here for you.

If you would like to talk to someone, the Beyond Blue Support Service is available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEST on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport  One of our friendly counsellors will be able to talk through these feelings with you and can offer support, advice and referrals.

We hope that you will find some comfort here on the forums. Please feel free to keep reaching out here on your thread whenever you feel up to it.

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

A very good topic this one.

I do sympathise with you about people not being able to apologise, unfortunately it is not in some peoples makeup that they do however, in most cases they do apologise in their own indirect way and we are not aware of it.

A relative of mine had a huge argument with her grown up daughter (they live together). I rang my relative a couple of days later to see how in progressed. "We'', I havent had an apology". I asked her how other things were and she told me that "yesterday we went to that local shopping centre and she bought me a lovely blouse. I was thrilled".

Now that to me is an apology.

In terms of those that never offer an apology it isnt part of their nature and cant be changed. Please read:


The other aspect in your case is the amount of stress your mother is under and the fact that you live at home. One generation ago it was far less common for adult children to remain at home over the age of say 18-20yo. They usually "flew the coup" and rented on their own. I dont know your age but if you are over 19yo or so it might be time (under the circumstances) to move out. Some family dynamics just dont work well and I think your mum is focussed enough on her husband that she cant split her attention enough to focus on your issues.

Any personal struggles you have can be channelled to forums like this, friends, GP or other. This will also make you more independent.

Repost anytime


Thanks for the reply! Hearing your perspective has really let me think.

I am in high school, and my mother personally moved out later in life, so I doubt that is an influence. Unfortunately, I've come to a few ideas, one of which being it really is her own home life. Without getting into too much detail, my family has an unfortunate history of child abuse. I remind myself of this when I really can't understand why she is acting the way she does, of course it explains but doesn't excuse.

My dad has officially fully recovered which has lifted a huge weight off all of us. Oddly enough, instead of resentment, she's been oddly concerned? I had a bit of a bad reaction to a fall where I scraped my knee, and she took me to the doctor as soon as it swelled up. Another example of this was when my friend's sister was 10 minutes late picking me up... now apparently she's inconsiderate and doesn't appreciate me...?

My best guess now is she just wants someone to infantilise or care for. Whenever I'm not sad/upset with her behaviour, she seems to be more aggressive. E.g. being stoic or indifferent. It was similar with my half-sister before she moved out. Whenever they would argue, if my sister simply accepted it and held no emotion, that would escalate the argument. I can't pinpoint anything in particular which could really explain her behaviour.

Thanks to you and anyone who even reads my ramblings. Sometimes it feels like a weight lifted off my chest when I vent my frustrations.

Hi whichwayhome,

Having been raised by a volatile and unpredictable mother myself, I can’t certainly appreciate how it makes you feel. As children our parents are our sole barometer of how people behave and so we accept that it’s right but it’s only as we get older that we really start to notice the messed up things they do and the way they behave. I’m glad that you are now starting to realize that her treatment of you is neither right nor acceptable. That being said, I doubt that you will ever get a proper apology from her, not because you don’t deserve one but because some people are incapable of having the emotional maturity to have some introspection and contrition to give one. They also see it as an admission of weakness and the lack of power makes it impossible to them. You need to learn that your truth is all you need.

I’m so sorry that your father has suffered a stroke, but am glad to hear that he has now recovered. That must be a weight off your mind. I hope that he is an ally of yours.
As you get older your relationship with your parents will change and they will have a lot less of a dominant role in your life. You will learn to accept your mother for her flaws and have an adult relationship with her despite it. She will also learn that she can no longer control you and will treat you with more respect. You will also see each other for shorter periods so it will be easier for her to be on her “best behavior”. I know because I have a similar mother who made my life extremely difficult while I was at home and under her roof. I learnt to emotionally distance myself from the situation, remind myself that I needed a place to stay while I was doing my degree, and then moved out when it finished. You have learnt what you do and don’t want in a home life and also in a relationship. Your challenge as you get older will be to not repeat what is comfortable to you.