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Advice on Dealing with a Negative Mother

 I guess my mother has always been a negative person, but it just seems really pronounced over the last few years. As my life unfolds in ways that I feel are healthy, happy, and productive, her negativity stands out more and more in contrast.

In my day to day life I am striving for goals, I am doing work that I find fulfilling, I am raising a 2 year old with another on the way, and I am very happily married. I think family is important, especially for small children. My mother does love my daughter, and wants to be around. We live about 70 miles away from each other, so we don't see each other every day, but usually once every week or so. If I didn't have a child, I would probably see her much less because being around her is rather unpleasant.

My mother is a perfectly literal example of a negative person. Everything that comes out of her mouth is negative or bad. Every single thing. She likes to complain, and does so about a multitude of things. She will tell you everything that is wrong with her job, her health, her finances, other family members. She will tell you every bad news story she heard that week. She will tell you bad things that are going on in other people's lives.  Any time you eat with her, she will find something negative to say about the meal you cooked. She complains to servers at restaurants. She complains to cashiers about prices of things at stores. She's that lady. Sitting in a room with her you can almost feel the black cloud above you. It is exhausting to be around her.

Sometimes I dream of just not answering her calls, or having to sit in a room with her... I would not tolerate this kind of behavior from anybody else that I know. Since she is my mom, I find myself trying to find a way to improve the situation, since my having to see her is not going to cease.

Some questions I ponder often:

Is it ever a good idea to confront someone about their personality flaws?

 If so, does it ever help facilitate change?

Also if so, What is the right way in which to approach someone about a difficult thing like this? How can you tell them in a way that makes them want to change?

Do you think this is something that needs to be addressed?

Anybody that has answers to these questions, or a story of how they have dealt with a negative person in their life please reply!

The last few times I've seen her I have found it really hard not to say something about this, it is weighing heavily on my mind.




Re: Advice on Dealing with a Negative Mother

  • Yes, you need to confront it. Negativity pushes people away, it also an affect a persons health. When she complains about work, her health or finances answer back to it, respond back, what do you plan on doing to change the situtation. And if she says, I don't know, offer to help her figure it out because "Mom I hate seeing you so unhappy all the time. I would love for you to feel happiness like I do in my life."

    Will that get her to change, who knows, but you have to try to confront her once. It may be the thing to get her to look at herself.

  • VORVOR member
    Eighth Anniversary 500 Love Its 500 Comments Name Dropper
    I agree w/ the PP.  You need to address it.  There are many gentle ways to do it, but do it.  It may not change anything but then again, it being brought to her attention that she's ALWAYS negative might be a kick in the pants she needs. 
  •  I guess my mother has always been a negative person, but it just seems really pronounced over the last few years. As my life unfolds in ways that I feel are healthy, happy, and productive, her negativity stands out more and more in contrast.

    In my day to day life I am striving for goals, I am doing work that I find fulfilling, I am raising a 2 year old with another on the way, and I am very happily married. I think family is important, especially for small children. My mother does love my daughter, and wants to be around. We live about 70 miles away from each other, so we don't see each other every day, but usually once every week or so. If I didn't have a child, I would probably see her much less because being around her is rather unpleasant.

    My mother is a perfectly literal example of a negative person. Everything that comes out of her mouth is negative or bad. Every single thing. She likes to complain, and does so about a multitude of things. She will tell you everything that is wrong with her job, her health, her finances, other family members. She will tell you every bad news story she heard that week. She will tell you bad things that are going on in other people's lives.  Any time you eat with her, she will find something negative to say about the meal you cooked. She complains to servers at restaurants. She complains to cashiers about prices of things at stores. She's that lady. Sitting in a room with her you can almost feel the black cloud above you. It is exhausting to be around her.

    Sometimes I dream of just not answering her calls, or having to sit in a room with her... I would not tolerate this kind of behavior from anybody else that I know. Since she is my mom, I find myself trying to find a way to improve the situation, since my having to see her is not going to cease.

    Some questions I ponder often:

    Is it ever a good idea to confront someone about their personality flaws?

     If so, does it ever help facilitate change?

    Also if so, What is the right way in which to approach someone about a difficult thing like this? How can you tell them in a way that makes them want to change?

    Do you think this is something that needs to be addressed?

    Anybody that has answers to these questions, or a story of how they have dealt with a negative person in their life please reply!

    The last few times I've seen her I have found it really hard not to say something about this, it is weighing heavily on my mind.




    I'd say to her "Ma, I'd love to see you more often but quite frankly, you do nothing but complain when i see you." and let her take it from there.

    And then indeed see less of her after that.

    Sorry for your troubles --- a real long time ago, I dated a guy who was the same way --- he ws full of pathos and "oh woe is me" --- He did not last long with me, dating wise -- it was exhausting listening to him.
  • My mom can be a negative Nancy too. When she goes on and on, I ask her, "What good happened today?" OR, "What did you find enjoyable?" I also ask, ":What are your plans for dealing with this?"

    I never, ever "go there" with her and indulge her negativity and I never discuss it or ask clarifying questions about it - unless it's a question like the one above that would involve a positive response. I never give her an audience.

    I DO however, go over the top to be engaging and very interested whenever she talks positively.

    It did go to the point when I had to ask her, "Mom, everything you say sounds so negative and serious. I never know when it's truly a problem or not. It's like the boy who cried wolf. If you want me to take you seriously, then you have to stop being so down on everything and everyone all the time." That got her attention.


  • I feel you! My mom is the same way. Christmas a bit stressful this year because I felt like she was "picking" on everything my DH and I do. We aren't the cleanest (working on it) or have the "best job" but if we are so happy I don't know why she could get down on it.

    I guess hang in there?
    Mellie
  • I wonder if confronting your mother about her negativity would do much good. If she is always negative, she isn't likely to take your criticism well and then you will likely be exposed to even more negativity. 

    If you choose to confront your mother, be very gentle and without references to crying wolf as that may put her on the defensive. I know you mean well and your concerns make complete sense. Manage your expectations because your mother may not want to change. 

    My mother is very negative and critical. I limit my contact with her but we don't have children so this is much easier for my husband and I. 
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