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Mum's the word Dear Maura: My mean mum is constantly criticising my man and calls him fat

"I’ve only recently moved into a house and we had them over for dinner. All she could say after was how fat my boyfriend is"

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Finding fault in others can be deflection

Finding fault in others can be deflection

Finding fault in others can be deflection

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill

Dear Maura,

My mother is constantly criticising my partner. No matter what he does it’s not good enough. Her marriage to my dad is far from perfect.

They’re still together but that’s only because he spends most of his time on the golf course. I’ve only recently moved into a house and we had them over for dinner. All she could say after was how fat my boyfriend is.

He made such an effort with them and that’s all she had to say. I’m an only child with a few cousins so my family circle is small. Only for that I’d tell her off. I’m angry but more than anything I’m sad. We could have a lovely time together, the four of us, if only she would stop being so mean.

I’ve asked Dad to talk to her but he says that she’s just not happy and hasn’t been for some time. He doesn’t know what to do either. Bless him. I love her and remember her as a happy, fun person up to my teen years.

Then she changed. I had wondered if it was her menopause. She’s 62 now. What can I do? If she won’t talk even to Dad and continues to be so hurtful, what options do I have? I feel so bad for her too and hate to see her this way.

Answer: What a pity your mother isn’t able to open up to you or your dad about her feelings. She is unhappy but until she starts to talk about the source of her unhappiness, this situation will continue.

Your dad needs to step up and, with love, try to help her confide in him about her moods. Could she be persuaded to see a therapist? If you show how much you care, she may find the courage to seek help.

She is trapped by this need to criticise, to make others feel bad, to take her attention away from her own pain. Don’t give up on her.

Email your problems to
Dr Angela Brokmann dr.angela@sundayworld.com
Maura O’Neill maura.oneill@sundayworld.com
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