Overbearing Mother (A Comprehensive Guide)

When you have an overbearing mother, dealing with her can become a hard and long road especially when you are living under the same roof.

Fortunately, there is a way in which you can deal with your overbearing mother and some specific steps you can take.

Although most of us will love to enjoy a healthy relationship with both of our parents generally it is not the case, it is not a given that if someone is your parent your relationship with them will be a perfect one.

If you are always under stress or in tension because your mom is making you feel guilty or is too controlling, it would become more difficult to have a healthy relationship between you and your mom.

In this article, we will discuss overbearing mothers.

What Overbearing Mothers Look Like

The term overbearing can be described in different ways with different people explaining it in their own way but a general concept is that an overbearing mother is the one who loves to exert her control over her children, appear unsatisfied with everything that the child does and regularly criticize the child.

The general term used for overbearing parents is often known as helicopter parents, as they like to keep an eye on their children ready to jump at any time.

Some of the signs of an overbearing mom are explained below :

1. Your Mom Wants You In Her Inner Circle

Being your mom best friend is basically a dream come true for many children and they love to go with their mom to places and share her problems with her but if your mom is pushing you to hang out with her and her friends and try to make you do guilt trips for the things she wants to be done, then it is mostly a red flag that you have an overbearing mom.

If she tries to tie you down with that friendship and push you to act like her best friend then she is trying to control you through it and is being too overbearing. 

2. You Feel Obligated To Help Your Mom Navigate Her Own Life

In most cases, the mom doesn’t know herself that she is being too overbearing as they are also human beings and need to learn and grow from their mistakes just like any other person.

For instance, it is okay for her to ask you for advice or ask your opinion concerning some matter or negative situation she might have landed in but if she always looks at you for advice or is too dependent on your opinions that she constantly demands them from you then she can be classified as an overbearing mom.

She should be able to make her own decisions regarding work, friends, life, and should not be overly dependent on you for decisions and advice.

It might look like that she is just asking you around and not controlling you but by being overly dependent on your opinions and advice she is still controlling you indirectly.

3. Your Personal Relationships Are Defined Or Approved By Your Mom

It is mainly your mom’s job to check that the company you are having and hanging out with is a good one and not a bad influence on you when you are small or under the age of 18 but once you are an adult and leave the nest and start making your own decisions and your own living than your mom should not be stacking your friend’s circle and your gatherings either on social media or otherwise and should not be questioning you a lot regarding these matters too.

If this is still going on after you are an adult and is happening without your consensus then she might be that your mom is trying to control your contacts and friends and it is better to distance yourself a little to give not only yourself but her some space too. 

4. She Has An Opinion About Everything That You Do

Some of the moms are usually always full of opinions regarding your work and what you do, as soon as you see your mom, she might be ready to bombard you with her opinions and questions which might make you feel uncomfortable and like you are presenting yourself in a court.

Although they might put concerns like they want the best for you and want to be sure that you are doing great their controlling nature might push some issues because they want to be heard which might result in more awkwardness between you two.

Even if your basic decisions are being questioned then you definitely have an overbearing mom. 

5. You Feel It

This might sound simple and straightforward but mostly our emotions are able to accurately determine the situation and read the mood of the room.

If you feel like your mom is trying to control you even when you are an independent adult, this feeling might be rare in between.

If you observe and check back on the interactions between your mom and yourself and you see that most of the time they were such that you were being controlled then there is a decent chance that you have an overbearing mom.

Go with your gut feelings and see that if you feel like your mom is questioning you a lot or is getting on your nerves lately because of so many instructions, then there is a possibility that you need to sit down with your mom and have a little chat about it.

Talk with her in a humble tone with respect and make her understand that you are no longer a little child and you love her with all your heart. 

6. Your Mom Is Dominating

There might be times that your mom is not even aware of her trying to control you as she is trying to be a good parent or how a parent should be in her opinion.

If you know the background of the upbringing of your mom and she might have been brought up in an unhealthy family environment and is still quite young then that can be one of the main reasons for her to be too dominating and controlling in your life. 

7. She Lacks Empathy

Another reason might be that if your mom is too caught up in their own life with stress and constant anxiety she might have been left with no empathy towards her own children as they do not have any energy or capacity to think about the feelings of their children.

Whereas some moms might not have fully developed the feelings or the ability to be empathetic towards their children or anyone else.

This might be one of the reasons for them becoming an overbearing mom.

Children who ask why does my mum hit me, an answer to this might be that she is overbearing.

8. She’s Overly Protective

If you are busy in some work or left your mom for a minute and there are dozens of messages from your mom with concerns related to whether you are good or not and where are you, although this might happen to a lot of us if it is consistent than it is a sign that your mom is one of the overbearing mom and she is overly protective of you as her child and wants to keep you away from harm. 

9. She’s Manipulative

If your mom is manipulative while giving her love, like she shows love as a reward rather than giving it to you without any condition then there is a high chance that she is trying to control you and is one of the overbearing moms. 

Dealing With an Overbearing Mother

There are different steps that can be taken in order to reduce the effects of having an overbearing mom, these are the steps that can be taken in any stage of your life whether in your childhood or in your adulthood but might help the cause.

Although changing the nature of your mother can be quite difficult but you might be able to reduce it by changing your own approach and reactions to the tendencies and behavior of your mother.

Also, make sure that you seek mental health from a professional regarding the matter as soon as possible. Some of the steps that can be taken are : 

Communicate. Although communicating with your mother might not solve all or most of the problems you are dealing with especially when you are communicating your frustration but it is the simplest solution and it might help your mom to learn about it and might even help you out.

Tell your mother how you feel and help her understand your feelings and frustration when the questions are too much or she is being too controlling.

Communicating openly, respectfully, and honestly might help you open a dialogue that can further help you in identifying the problems where both of you are struggling in your relationship and help patch things up.

Set Boundaries. You can also set up predefined boundaries for each other even if your mother is not too keen to communicate with you.

Both of you can sit together and discuss it out and finalize on the set boundaries which can also enhance the whole family, this can decide how much input your mother can ask of you and how much insight and effect she can have on your daily life.

Cultivate Your Own Interests. If by chance, your mother is highly involved in your life through work, friends, hobbies, or interests it is better to cultivate some of the hobbies or friends that are away from your mother which will help you to reduce the involvement of your mother in your daily life. 

Develop Coping Mechanisms. You might need to work on a coping mechanism for the times when your mother is being too controlling or overbearing rather than venting out your frustration or reaching your breaking point.

It is best to divert it towards something else or cancel it out using pain as most people do which is not healthy.

None of these activities are healthy like venting out on the loved ones, or harming yourself just to numb the frustration but if you have a coping mechanism that can help you with depression, anxiety, low self-esteem like meditation, yoga or any other physical exercise even knitting might help you to vent it out. 

Seek Outside Help. Another way to make things better between you and your mom is by seeking outside help from a professional, family therapy is basically designed for the sole purpose of improving the relationships between different family members and can help you out in this regard.

If your mom does not listen to anything you have to say and is too over-controlling and does not want to improve her behavior then it is best to mix up the help from a professional alongside meditations and exercise.

The relationship between a mother and a child is a complex one and might give way to a number of conflicts which might be difficult to handle at times where the therapist can help calm both parties and come to an agreeable solution.

FAQ about overbearing mothers. 

What is an overbearing mother?

An overbearing mother is a mother who likes to or wants to control their child even though it can be done unintentionally or deliberately.

How do you stop an overbearing mother?

It can be avoided to be an overbearing mother using the following steps:
– Let children face failures and learn from those experiences.

– Guide them for something but never push them for it.

– Always be present to support them emotionally rather than to command them.


Raven Ishak (2017): “9 Signs Your Mom Is Too Controlling & How To Deal With It”

Corrina Horne (2020): “Survival Guide For Dealing With An Overbearing Mother”