Dear Thelma: My mother hates me and my family doesn’t care

  • Family
  • Sunday, 12 Jan 2020

I used to be very close with my mother when I was young, but slowly that love has turned into bitter hatred. Time and again, I have seen her side with my sister and talk about her in a more positive light. I am always the bad one, no matter what I do to please her. It took me many years to accept that I will never be good enough for her, and I’ve learned to distance myself from her.

At the same time, I have ceased giving her money since she made it very clear who she loves more. To her, financial support equals love. When I slowly gave her less money, she became increasingly hostile with her words. She made it clear that I was not worth anything to her. But she gets generous allowances and gifts from my father and sister so she’s never short of comforts.

On one particular day, the fight got so bad that she shouted that she should have killed me when she was pregnant with me, “or at least I should have slit your throat as a baby”.

I have considered that she might be suffering from dementia or something, but then I remembered that she did not mince her words from the beginning. I remember on one of her birthdays, I gave her a large amount of money as a gift. Suddenly she showered me with all her attention, and even berated my sister for not giving her as much money.

Time and again, my mother has broken my heart as her love is only superficial. Yet, she always makes me out to be the bad guy.

I receive no support from my father or sister when she’s attacking me. I am slowly beginning to accept that if your own family thinks nothing of you, you’re not loved at all. And that’s what my life has been for some decades now: loveless.

I want to leave this house and family, but can’t afford to do so. To rub salt into the wound, I am unable to get a better-paying job due to the poor economy.

A good friend of mine is aware of my situation. I do not have a romantic partner whom I can turn to. All my friends live with their families, so I cannot move in with someone.

I have contemplated suicide, but it’d mean that my family would get rid of me and gain an inheritance from me.

I want to leave this family in peace. I wish them well, but no longer want them in my life.

I honestly feel like I am trapped in a perpetual nightmare, where I am constantly aware that I am not loved by anyone.


We are born needing love and as we grow up, we look to our parents for it. Sadly, not everyone is a loving, competent or even decent parent.

When kids are brought up knowing they are unloved, they suffer greatly. Many believe that they are unlovable or that it is somehow their fault.

This is what’s happened to you. The feelings you have, that you’re unloved, that you are trapped in a nightmare and that you might be better off not existing, are a reaction to the way you were treated. That deep sadness you feel comes from their rejection.

Believe me, there is nothing wrong with you; you are a perfectly lovable person.

Your mum doesn’t value others unless they give her money. That is her limitation, not yours.

Your father has chosen to ignore his role as a father, which includes nurturing you. Again, that is his failure. It is not a reflection on you.

You see what is wrong very clearly and you have lots of courage. But your circumstances are a challenge and I strongly suggest you get good mental health support.

When you are suicidal, you can call one of the helplines for instant comfort. This includes Befrienders (tel: 03-7956 8144/ 03-7956 8145).

However, you also need to schedule proper sessions with a mental health practitioner who specialises in abuse.

During the sessions, you make a journey to good mental health. That means you explore how your upbringing has affected you, what kind of changes you want to make in your life and how you will get there.

You also need to be evaluated for depression and to work on relieving that. For this, you can work with a psychologist (a person who does talk therapy) but you might also talk to a psychiatrist (a medical doctor) to see if you want to take medication.

During the first sessions, you will also work out who your support group is. For example, you mention you have several good friends. While they may not be able to offer a practical escape right now, it’s important you see that it proves you are perfectly lovable. Also, being around them will help keep your spirits up while you make happy changes to your life.

As you can see, the fix for this is not an instant one, so be prepared for several months of work. Look for someone with a Masters Degree in Psychology or Counselling.

From what you say, you can’t pay for private help. That’s OK because there is free help available.

Call your local council and ask if they have a mental health unit. Also call the universities near you as many run clinics that are open to the public. Finally, check out this helpful list:

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) – Telenita

Address: 85, Jalan 21/1, Sea Park, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor.

Contact: 03-7877 0224

Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)

Contact: 03-7956 3488

DBKL Telecounselling

Address: Tingkat 1, Menara DBKL, Jalan Raja Laut 50350 Kuala Lumpur.

Contact: 1800-88-2600/ 03-2617 9905

While you reach out for help, please remember that depression is a nasty condition as it makes you think the worst of yourself and your situation. It’s like having a black cloth thrown over all your emotions.

Be sure to remind yourself daily that you are not alone because you have friends. Also, there are many people who have been in your situation and who have gone on to build very happy lives for themselves. So know that you will turn this around and be a success story too.

Is something bothering you? Do you need a listening ear or a shoulder to lean on? Thelma is here to help. Email or write to Dear Thelma, c/o StarLifestyle, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR FULL NAME, ADDRESS AND A PSEUDONYM. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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