How Do I Deal With A Mean Mother?

From setting boundaries to getting results, Charlotte Pardy MA gives practical guidance and solutions on how to deal with a mean mother.


Having a difficult relationship with your mother can be an incredibly challenging experience. It's important to remember that you're not alone in this journey. In this blog post, we'll explore some practical ways to navigate this difficult subject. By recognising certain truths and learning how to prioritise your own well-being, you can find a path to healing and emotional freedom.

Recognising Your Mum Won't Change

One of the first and most crucial steps in dealing with a mean mother is understanding that, unfortunately, you cannot change her. It's essential to acknowledge that her behaviour and attitudes are deeply rooted in her own experiences and perspectives. Accepting this truth can be liberating. It's not your responsibility to transform her behaviour, nor is it within your power to do so. Instead, your focus should shift towards your own well-being.

Case Study: Jane's Journey to Acceptance

One of my clients, Jane, experienced this comparison all too often. Her mother frequently praised her sibling while subtly implying Jane's shortcomings. This left Jane feeling invisible, overlooked, and desperate for approval.

After joining my program, Jane began to reclaim her sense of self-worth. Through a combination of therapeutic techniques and personalised strategies, she learned to recognise her own strengths and value, independent of external judgments. Over time, Jane transformed from a daughter burdened by comparison to a woman who celebrated her uniqueness. She embraced her individuality, knowing that it was a source of strength rather than inadequacy.

It's Not Your Job to Fix Your Mum

It's common for daughters to feel a strong sense of responsibility for their mothers' well-being. However, it's important to understand that you cannot bear the weight of fixing her. This burden is not yours to carry. Your primary focus should be on your own healing and growth.

Case Study: Emma's Liberation

Emma, another client, spent years trying to "fix" her mother's behaviour. This only led to frustration and burnout. Through our sessions, Emma learned to release this sense of obligation and duty. Emma began to channel her energy towards building a fulfilling life for herself, independent of her mother's actions.

9 Ways You Can Work Towards Healing Yourself

1. Seek Professional Support

One of the most powerful steps towards healing is seeking professional guidance. Working with a therapist, like me, who specialises in mother-daughter relationships can provide invaluable insights and strategies. We create a safe space for you to explore your feelings and develop healthy coping mechanisms.

Case Study: Sarah's Transformation

Sarah, a client, initially felt hesitant about seeking professional help. However, through our sessions, she discovered a safe space to explore her feelings. This newfound clarity empowered her to take significant strides towards healing including being able to recognise when she was taking on her mother’s problems as her own.

2. Practice Self-Compassion

Treat yourself with the same kindness and understanding that you use with others. Acknowledge your feelings without judgment. Remember that your emotions are valid, regardless of what your mum says, and it's okay to prioritise your own well-being.

Case Study: Melissa's Journey to Self-Kindness

Melissa struggled with self-compassion, often beating herself up for not meeting unrealistic expectations. Through our sessions, she learned to cultivate self-kindness. This shift in mindset marked a significant turning point in her healing journey.

3. Set Boundaries

Creating clear boundaries is essential for protecting your emotional well-being. This means recognising and communicating your limits. It's not about shutting your mother out, but about creating a space that respects your needs and feelings.

Case Study: Sophie's Journey to Balance

Sophie, another client of mine, was struggling with guilt when setting boundaries with her mother. Through our sessions, she learned that prioritising her own well-being was not selfish, but an essential aspect of her healing journey. As she established boundaries, Sophie discovered a newfound sense of balance in her relationship with her mum.

4. Cultivate Supportive Relationships

Surround yourself with people who uplift and validate you. Building a supportive community can be a powerful source of healing. These friends can offer empathy, understanding, and a sense of belonging.

Case Study: Melissa's Support Network

Melissa, a client, was feeling very isolated in her struggles. However, through our sessions, she learned to cultivate a network of understanding friends and family. This support played a pivotal role in her healing journey.

5. Engage in Self-Care

Prioritise your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. This could include anything from exercise and meditation to creative pursuits like painting or writing.

Case Study: Emma's Self-Care Revolution

Thinking about Emma again, she was so consumed by her mother's demands it was hard to think about herself. Working with me she discovered the power of self-care. Through our time together, she learned that prioritising her own well-being was not a luxury, but a necessity. This newfound commitment to self-care was another profound key she used to transform her life.

6. Journaling for Reflection

Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a powerful tool for self-reflection and emotional processing. It allows you to gain clarity on your emotions and track your progress.

Case Study: Sophie's Journaling Journey

Sophie, like many people, was initially hesitant about journaling, but found it to be a transformative practice. Through our sessions and journaling prompts I gave her; she discovered a profound sense of clarity and self-awareness through regular journaling.

7. Incorporate Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness practices and meditation can be invaluable for grounding yourself in the present moment. They offer a space for calm reflection and can help alleviate anxiety and stress by helping you to de-sensitise and regulate your nervous system.

Case Study: Melissa's Mindfulness Transformation

Melissa, once overwhelmed by racing, intrusive and anxious thoughts, discovered the power of mindfulness. Through our sessions, she learned specialist techniques to stay present, regulate her emotions and calm her nervous system. This newfound mindfulness brought a sense of peace and clarity to her life.

8. Explore Somatic Release Techniques

Somatic techniques are based on the idea we don’t just experience trauma mentally and emotionally, but also in our bodies and that trauma, especially childhood trauma can remain in our bodies years after it happened. Somatic Experiencing can therefore be a powerful tool for releasing stored emotional energy in the body. Promoting a sense of relaxation and physical well-being.

Case Study: Sarah's Somatic Release Journey

Sarah, initially unfamiliar with somatic techniques, found them to be a revelation. Through our time together, she learned to release long-held emotional tension and stress in her body, leading to a profound sense of relief and lightness.

9. Embrace Polyvagal Theory for Regulation

Understanding how to use Polyvagal Theory alongside traditional psychotherapy, like I do, can provide valuable insights into regulating your nervous system. This knowledge empowers you to navigate emotional challenges with greater ease.

Case Study: Emma's Polyvagal Journey

Thinking about my client Emma again, I helped her understand and use Polyvagal Theory, and she found it to be a game-changer, and another key in her recovery. Through our sessions, she learned practical techniques based on this theory for navigating emotional challenges. They equipped her with practical strategies for managing difficult situations and emotions.

Finding a Balance in Your Relationship with Your Mum

While the journey of healing is mostly focused on your internal well-being, finding a balance in your relationship with your mother is still important. This might involve setting clear boundaries, communicating openly, and seeking moments of connection when they feel authentic to you.

Remember, this balance is unique to each daughter-mother relationship and may evolve over time.


Dealing with a mean mother is undeniably challenging, but it's important to remember that you have the power to navigate this journey towards healing. By recognising that change begins within yourself, seeking professional support through things like my Daughters of The Roses Program, and prioritising your own well-being, you can find a path to emotional freedom. Remember, you're not alone in this journey, and there is hope for a brighter, more empowered future.

Award Winning Psychotherapist and Mother Wound Whisperer, Charlotte Pardy MA

Categories: : boundaries, case studies, Mothers, Relationship