Young children may have no choice, but adult children do not have to suffer from parental control. Yes, adults must honor their parents, but we should also understand the context of the Biblical commandment; which was not written as a parents ticket to forever control their child.

Amidst failed or repeated attempts to reach a controlling mom, you may not believe in workable solutions to help you better deal with her abuse of control. However, there are a few—and it is up to you to free yourself from the unhealthy burden in a way that respects her position, yet also respects the validity of your adulthood.

Make Sure She Knows
Your mother may not even know that you feel she is controlling. If she is not aware, she cannot correct her behavior. Tell her what you feel and give her reasons for why you feel that way. This approach not only makes her aware, it opens the door for you to respectfully object or disagree with her when necessary. Any stable mom will seek to understand and rectify such indifference once they know it exists, and that it is coming in-between you two.
Exercise Your Independence

Most mothers experience a history of dependence when it comes to their children. An infant or adolescent has to depend on their mother for what they cannot do (and that is pretty much everything). However, as we age, we must learn to do more on our own. If you still run to your mother for constant help and advice, it may be the source of the all-inclusive invitation you are now weary of.

Begin to make your own decisions and rely on your own discernment. For example, as Indiana University psychologist Chris Meno suggests, “Catch yourself when you are about to call home, and ask yourself if there is any way that you could figure the problem out on your own.” As a result, you can begin to break away from the unhealthy dependence on your mother, discouraging her tendency to control.

Recognize Manipulation, Combat Guilt Trips

Many moms control due to the fear of being left. They take the independence of their children as a sign that they have become unnecessary. As a result, such a mom might use guilt to maintain control and may even claim you are disloyal simply for growing up. If that sounds like your mom, know you can be easily tricked into believing you must submit to manipulative control in order to respect her. 

On the contrary, you can be a respectful child to your mother without falling victim to her control. Sue Bohlin, speaker and writer of Probe Ministries, says,”When you feel guilty for being different from what your parents or your family want you to be or do, that is a sign of boundary problems. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad daughter.” Stay on guard against manipulative actions by establishing boundaries with your mom, so you do not get trapped in guilt

Severe cases require you get outside support in order to maintain an objective perspective. Help may include a biblical support group, individual counseling, or a therapy group that provides the positive affirmation you need to combat her manipulation and guilt trips.

Protect You and Yours
According to Mayo Clinic, if your mother has a history of blaming others for her bad behavior or the challenges she faces, hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection, and/or an intense desire to be in control of situations, she may have a personality disorder. Since many personality disorders fault the victim for their problem and consider their own well being more important, it is crucial you develop a strategy to protect your emotional stability and that of your immediate family. In severe cases like this, sit down with an experienced biblical counselor or therapist to help you develop your strategy.



Today’s Christian Woman: Honor My Mother and Father?
Indiana University: “Helicopter Parents” Stir Anxiety, Depression Boundaries With Family
Kansas State University: Dysfunctional Families Personality Disorders

Ask The Psychologist: Is My Controlling and Manipulative Mother Just Punishing Me?

Cross Walk: The Dividing Line for Adult Children
Visionary Womanhood: Honoring Your Parents in Adulthood

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Zara Answers: "Help, My Mom's a Control Freak! What Do I Do?"

by Zara Hairston | Your Questions, Answered