The relationship between a mother and her children is one of the purest relationships on earth. However, if you complain that your mother is negative and depressing, it’s not a very rare thing to see nowadays.
In fact, it is said that 1 in 5 children today live with a parent who is severely depressed. Since in most cases children are more emotionally attached to their mother, they often easily identify her negative and depressed nature from the start.
Although children often come to this conclusion after they’ve compared the way they’re treated versus how their friends or relatives are treated by their mothers, the conclusion can still be wrong.
Perhaps there are just some misunderstandings between you two, maybe it’s just a lack of communication or it’s just that you’re judging your mother way too quickly.
Let’s look at some of the signs to know if your mother is actually negative and depressed or it’s just your illusion.
Signs That Your Mother is Negative & Depressing
She always has a pessimistic approach
Have you ever come across a moment when your position on a topic is totally opposite to that of your mother? This is pretty normal. What’s not normal is you being always on the positive side while your mother choosing to look on the negative side every single time. Let’s understand it by an example.
Let’s say you’re a high school student and want permission to go on a school trip with your classmates.
Now, even though there are all safety measures for you to travel with your friends under your teacher’s supervision, your mother still always point out some unfortunate incident that took place and doesn’t permit you to go based on that.
This would clearly be considered a negative approach towards decision making since she’s holding herself based on the negativity she stored from the past.
She doesn’t value your emotional needs
All the parents have two responsibilities on their shoulders for their children; to fulfill their needs of resources (feeding them, buying them clothes, etc.) and fulfilling their emotional needs (listening to their thoughts and problems, etc.)
If you feel that your mother has always been ignorant towards your emotional needs and hardly ever take some time to talk, she’s been rejecting emotional support for you.
Simply ask yourself, was she ever interested in hearing you out? Did she care when you seemed to be down or tense? Did she make you feel secure when you were emotionally scarred? If the answer is ‘No’ to all these questions, your mother was being thick towards your feelings.
She’s always trying to catch the attention
Do you often feel that your mother tries to be the center of attention in every gathering? Has she even been so desperate of attention that she faced some embarrassing awkward moments as a result of her behavior?
If that is the case, your mother’s negative character and depression can be validated.
Attention seeking has been recognized by psychologists as a strong sign of depression or loneliness.
In cases like these, it’s common that at times you may even feel that your mother is trying to be the prime focus even when it’s an event centered around you, i.e.; your birthday, etc.
She interferes in your life a little too much
It doesn’t make sense that your mother is being ignorant of your emotional needs and seems like she really doesn’t care while at the same time, she interferes too much in your life.
If you feel like your mother is negative, she’d often not regard the boundaries between your relationships which you both should ideally respect. As children grow up, they tend to have their own life where they make their own decisions.
Having a negative mother, she’d not let you take control of your own life. For example, you might see her over-judging your personal choices like your partner, your career or your lifestyle in general.
How to Change Your Mother’s Negative & Depressive Behavior
If you’ve identified the signs in your mother’s behavior and you’re confident that your judgment about her is authentic, here are the exact steps you should take to bring a change in her negative mindset.
1) Spend more time with her
Communication is one of the most useful human traits and powerful characteristics. Yet the lack of communication is one of the primary reasons why family relationships turn bad. There are a number of serious consequences a family faces due to their lack of communication.
The same can be the case for your mother. Even if the core reason behind your mother’s negativity is something else, still the lack of communication between you two could be seriously escalating that. So where do you start now? Just try to spend more time with her.
Try to be around her when you’re at home, try to help her with some tasks, or have fun together. This way you’d first be able to eliminate that attachment and closeness gap between you and your mother before you take any other tactical step.
2) Track the source of her negativity
No human being is negative, pessimistic, depressing, or anxious by birth. Let it be anyone that you feel has a critical view on life; their negativity is coming from somewhere.
The same can be the case for your mother. Maybe she faced a series of traumatic events in her childhood, maybe she was raised ignorantly or maybe she had negative people around, her whole life.
As her child, you must have heard something about the circumstances your mother was in. Knowing the exact cause behind your mother’s pessimistic personality not only helps to change her overall negative and depressive behavior but also makes you empathetic to comprehend her situation better.
If you don’t understand that behind your mother’s irritating behavior could have years of bad conditioning, you’ll never be able to adjust her behavior gently.
3) Talk and discuss progressively
The easiest solution to any problem in the world is to have a talk and discussion. The same would apply to your mother, however; in this case, you’d need a strategic approach.
You can’t just confront your mother someday and let her know that she’s very negative and make you feel insecure. That’d seem to be extremely rude and will escalate the situation in the wrong direction.
Instead, talk with her in a progressive manner. So what do we mean by “progressive”?
It means carrying the conversation step by step. It’s not even necessary to reach the focal point of your discussion at the very first time you sat to talk. For example, if you’ve noticed that you and your mother don’t sit and talk that often, you should first try putting some effort every day to change that.
Start with some generic topics. At first, you might just have to talk for the sake of talking. However once you’ve built that foundation in your relationship, you can move to specific conversations where you can convey how you feel because of her behavior.
Again empathy and is the key here. Make it look like a discussion rather than a debate. So instead of saying; “If you don’t change, I’d have to leave you forever” say something like; “Why do you do this sometimes? Are you okay? I am worried about you…”
4) Let her know her boundaries
Boundaries are important in every relationship no matter what. They can be loosened and/or tightened however there would still be some boundaries.
Now if your mother is releasing all her negativity on you, even if you’re trying your best to change her behavior and make her realize, you’d still need to distant yourself from her to some extent.
The reason behind this is the fact that your mother’s behavior won’t change in a day or in a week. Even if she tries her best, she’ll be very negative and depressive at times.
So distancing yourself from her would ensure that the whole time when your mother was having a bad time, you weren’t being affected by it.
5) Praise her on the positive attitude
By praising someone on a specific kind of behavior you’re enforcing them to do more of it. Praising has been recognized as one of the finest techniques to help someone change.
From time to time you’ll be seeing your mother being seriously happier and positive. This is the time when you praise her in any way possible. The point is to let her know that this side of her is way more beautiful and encouraging.
For example, if you see your mother is happier someday and showing no sign of depression, simply say to her; “I love seeing you happy like this”.
Or you can say something that drags you in as well, for example; “Your happiness makes me happy, positive and inspired”. This way you’re making her aware of the fact that she’s having a huge impact on you by just being positive.
Through continuous enforcement of her positive behavior, you’ll be giving her one more reason to eliminate the negative and depressive side in her personality. And especially touching the store from an emotional aspect adds more value to this tactic’s effectiveness.
6) Take control of your own life
Finally, it’s important that you take control of your life in your own hands. No matter how rude or pessimistic your mother is you shouldn’t leave it entirely up to her to make you feel good and warm.
For example, just because your mother said something negative about you, doesn’t mean you should now sit and cry all day. If you know that being negative is kind of a trait for her, just let it be and move on.
Don’t hang yourself tightly on anything that your mother says and make sure it doesn’t bother you emotionally.
That being said it’s equally important that you stay respectful to her and admire her good things. Just don’t overthink when the words coming out of her mouth doesn’t feel so positive.
Irrespective of how negative and depressing your mother gets towards you, you still have to understand that she loves you. A mother’s love is always unconditional and her intentions are pure almost all the time even if her actions convey the opposite of it sometimes.
It’s understandable if your mother is negative and depressing however, that won’t justify you being rude to her. What you can do best is to follow the steps mentioned above and be patient enough for her to cope with her behavior. Since she didn’t develop this behavior in a day/week it won’t be changed with just the effort of a day/week either.