The consequences of having a controlling mother

Jonah Lester
The consequences of having a controlling mother

“Going on a date, even after I turned 16, was not something I could do, unlike other kids my age. In fact, almost all the movements that I made were dictated and monitored as if I were in a prison ”. These words are spoken by a woman whose mother kept her life under the most excessive control, a control that can become a real handicap in the development and emotional stability of people. Today we talk about the negative effects that excessive control can generate in children.


  • Characteristics of a controlling mother
  • Behaviors of controlling mothers
    • Constant invasion of children's privacy
    • Pressure and search for perfection
    • Constant criticism and lack of self-criticism
    • The use of manipulation as a weapon
  • Effects of excessive control on children
  • What guidelines to follow to give freedom to children
    • Offer your children as much independence as possible
    • Let young people have their own voice
    • Cultivate your own independence as parents
    • Links of interest

Characteristics of a controlling mother

Like narcissistic mothers, very controlling mothers see their children as extensions of themselves rather than as individual beings with their own will over their lives. They are people who project their needs onto their children, whose lives are for them a reflection of their motivations, ambitions and desires..

Very controlling mothers often affirm that they act as such because that is how it should be done, sometimes motivated by a pattern of behavior learned in their own homes through which they come to believe that this way of acting is appropriate. They may believe that they are doing it for the "good" of the children. However, the consequences are completely the opposite. These types of behaviors can also happen when the mother suffers a serious state of anxiety and stress and although their intentions are not bad at first, the mistakes they make can have negative effects on the lives of their children..

Behaviors of controlling mothers

Some of the most common behaviors that occur between controlling mothers and their children are:

Constant invasion of children's privacy

Constantly reading newspapers, opening emails, letters, books, listening to phone calls, and even rummaging through the trash for signs of "bad behavior." These behaviors are usually described by people whose mothers controlled every last detail of their lives. Lack of respect for privacy has no limits and this is very destructive to the self-esteem of young people and children who end up feeling like people without their own space or the right to privacy..

Pressure and search for perfection

Constant comparisons with more successful acquaintances fostering children's competitiveness is another clear sign of parents pressuring their children to control them at will. These types of mothers do not motivate their children to achieve their own dreams but to follow their guidelines, belittling them when they fail to achieve certain goals that they themselves have stipulated and canceling their own personalities to fit with what they dictate..

Constant criticism and lack of self-criticism

Controlling mothers are never satisfied with what their children do or achieve. The struggle to please them is constant and turns into a deep frustration in the children, that whatever they do they feel invalid before others. In addition to this constant criticism that continues even when the children are already in adult stages, mothers who usually show this behavior are not prone to self-criticism. They usually act as if they are always right, never acknowledging a mistake..

The use of manipulation as a weapon

Controlling mothers often use strategies based on manipulating emotions to achieve their goals. Getting children to feel guilty without not acting as they want is quite common and often leads children to become people with feelings of guilt. In addition, the use of lies and plans to get the son or daughter not to follow a specific path is very common..

Effects of excessive control on children

The effects of a relationship with a hyper-controlling mother can be devastating for children, both in the short and long term. Some of these effects are detailed below:

  • Often times, people who have led lives completely controlled by their mothers can develop poor relationships with other people. This is because they feel very insecure and ashamed of themselves, so the reactions of others can overwhelm them..
  • It is likely that they will not be able to act maturely in their relationships, since they have not learned how to manage their own emotions or their thoughts, since these have never been a priority, but something annoying for others. In addition, the ability to decide for themselves has been canceled, so connecting and becoming intimate in a real way with other people generates great difficulty..
  • Aggression and hostility can surface in these people due to feeling and insecurity and lack of ability to handle emotions.
  • People who grow up being influenced by these types of adult role models can become codependent beings who try too hard to make others happy as a bargaining chip to “deserve” the love of others. This causes them to lie and deny facts to constantly please others, denying their own personality that sometimes they do not even know..

What guidelines to follow to give freedom to children

Some guidelines to ensure that our children have the freedom to grow up in a healthy way and become confident adults are:

Offer your children as much independence as possible

The freedom to have their own responsibilities little by little means that children become adults capable of making decisions with coherence and security in themselves, this does not mean separating ourselves completely from young people and ceasing to guide them, but rather giving them space and freedom to become independent people. Getting adults who are emotionally healthy and responsible for themselves is one of the greatest achievements of parenthood and teaching children to control themselves with their own freedom and love is an indispensable condition.

Let young people have their own voice

Learning to express your own opinions freely, without fear of criticism or anger is important for people's development. Parents must encourage communication, inform, reason, and guide their children with respect for their own voice and opinion. Imposing ideas and behaviors in a compulsory way only frustrates the development of the future adult.

Cultivate your own independence as parents

When parents focus 100% of their lives on caring for their children, they can forget themselves and succumb to excessively obsessive and unstable behaviors. Both parents and children are independent and individual beings who must have their own space, dreams and motivations. This does not mean that parents should not worry or closely care for their children, much less that they should not be loving parents, rather it is about reflecting love and respect for oneself, behaviors that later children will adopt as healthy adults and responsible for their own lives.

Links of interest

  • Why You Really Don't Want to Be a Controlling Mother. Susan Merrill.
  • The Psychological Effect of a Controlling Mother (and How I Dealt With It). Melissa Flagg. 2018.
  • The impact of controlling mothers on their sons. Javier Fiz Pérez. 2018.
  • How to Deal with a Toxic Controlling Mother. Mike Gamble.
  • Having controlling parents may affect later relationships. Kathryn Doyle. 2014.

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