The Atlantic

Dear Therapist: My Family Hates My Mother

She picks fights, doesn’t listen to others, and makes everyone uncomfortable. Nobody wants to invite her to events—and I feel awful about it.
Source: Bianca Bagnarelli

Editor’s Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear.therapist@theatlantic.com.

Dear Therapist,

No one likes my mother. She is loud, obnoxious, negative, and self-involved. She doesn’t listen to people when they talk, or look them in the eye. She doesn’t have any common ground with most folks, since she’s mostly interested in her own stories.

All of this means being around her difficult. She has instigated arguments at family gatherings, making things very uncomfortable. My aunts, uncles, cousins—her siblings and nieces and nephews—keep their distance when possible, not inviting her to game nights, birthday parties, and other gatherings. This makes me feel obligated to host events so I can ensure she’s invited,

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic3 min readPolitics
What Happens When a Billionaire Swoops In to Solve the Student-Debt Crisis
A philanthropist surprised Morehouse College graduates at commencement by announcing he would pay off their student loans. But one person—even a very generous one—can only do so much.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Macron and Salvini: Two Leaders, Two Competing Visions for Europe
The French and Italian politicians see different futures for the continent. Both face tests in this week’s European Parliament elections.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
To China, All's Fair in Love and Trade Wars
Just how bad are things between the United States and China? Over an evening beer in Beijing this week, a friend and I debated which prominent American company China would whack first. It’s a serious question—and the answer could be the next ugly ste