As I just starting to learn about Buddhism and the methods of be free from samsara. I have confusion about my relationship and my mother. I am 24 yo now- I feel like I have enough of being used by my mother. When I was 1 week old she gave me to another family to look after. She paid them tho. She never taking care of all my siblings inc me. She is sex worker and my dad was a lazy man who did nothing but spend my mother money. Instead of saving money for her kids, she went to another island with young guys to spend the money from properties etc. she sold me (not technically) to 50yo man who is her client,but he didn’t know that I was her daughter. She asked me to go there AGAIN after the sexual assault happen a day before, just to get a phone that he willing to give for an apology of his behaviour, but he did it again. My mom laughed and disgust when i told her what happened.

When I started to build up my life on my own, she know I have more money than all my other siblings so she asked me to send and give her money(weekly or monthly). The money goes somewhere, I dunno where but it’s a lot for food expenses. Now I am in Australia studying with my hard work and she still depend on me to live, just like what she did in her whole life. Instead of giving up on her, I show her the good path n to become a better person but she always says “I was born like this, it’s a habit, don’t tell me what’s wrong n right, cause I know” over and over again.

Last month, she asked for my help and I don’t have anything cause I just pay my school but she doesn’t understand so I asked my friends for help, and she said “it’s embarrassing to have a daughter who live in another country, but can’t support her mother” so I just said to her,”enough, enough doing this to me, if you believe what you believe is right then keep doing that, but I don’t want to be part of it” and I never call or text her since.

I truly don’t want to be in her life anymore, she is 50yo. She had 3x stroke and she stil doesn’t changes. I accept the way she is but I don’t her to be part of my life, I don’t care if someday I live on the street again, as long as she stop to using me.

What should I do ??? Try again ?? I forgive her. Should I back and apologise because I choose my happiness?? I need a spiritual answer ! I’m lost.


9 Answers 9


The last paragraph ("she is 50yo. She had 3x stroke") reminds me of the first few verses from the Dhammapada:

  1. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who harbor such thoughts do not still their hatred.

  2. "He abused me, he struck me, he overpowered me, he robbed me." Those who do not harbor such thoughts still their hatred.

  3. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.

  4. There are those who do not realize that one day we all must die. But those who do realize this settle their quarrels.

I say this because it's possible that, after she has died, or when you are dying, you'll prefer it if you made peace (or even tried to make peace) with her.

I think that Buddhism says that ethics are important; and it recommends against bad (immoral) companionship. So I'm not sure that (i.e. I doubt whether) Buddhism would recommend that you help to "enable" her to behave immorally ... for example by buying her drink (enabling her substance abuse) and doing whatever/everything she tells you to do.

If one extreme is to "leave her" (i.e. "no relationship") and another extreme is to "obey her" (i.e. a "bad or abusive relationship") perhaps you can find a "middle way" between those two extremes.

I imagine that perhaps there are some things that are good to offer her, and some things that aren't. So try to clarify in your own mind what the difference is, where the boundary is.

Also I guess to some extent you have already left your mother, i.e. you're in another country. Maybe what you ought to want is the best relationship you can have, and not to have a bad relationship.

Speaking of boundaries (and the following is personal advice now, based on personal experience ... the above was more-or-less loosely based on Buddhist suttas), you may want or need to say "no" to certain requests of hers. I assume she tries to make that (your saying "no") difficult (by arguing with you), which is why you want to say "no" to the whole relationship.

You (and she) might be able to have something of a relationship, if you say "no" when you must.

Also, well done for going to school and so on, working hard, having friends, and starting to learn about Buddhism. I hope that works out well for you.

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    This seems to hold both principles up. If you give her money and she is on a bad path you might enable her on that path. At the same time resenting her and harboring anger is not compassionate or understanding. You could choose not to support her financially while she is on the wrong path, but forgive her for her mistakes (that will help you as well as her).
    – Dan S
    Feb 11, 2018 at 18:17

Buddha said, we can leave our husband or wife, but we can't leave our parents. It's a special connection, unconditional - more important than any other connection in our life.

Plus, as Maitreya the future Buddha will teach, pure heart forgives everything and always gives second chance, infinite number of times. Pure heart is like the sun - rises every morning and sends its light to everyone, no matter how much they failed.

But you know all this already, because you already said you want to forgive her. There's no need to fight this feeling - there's no shame in being kind in heart.

Of course you don't have to give her all your money or borrow from friends. You can say "no" when you must protect yourself. But no need to abandon her either. You can keep talking to her, that's more important than money. And then when you have extra money, you can send her some.

I was in your situation, my father was an alcoholic, and I kept sending him money until he died. I kept talking to him on the phone. It was very hard for me, and my mom kept telling I should not send him money he spent on drinks anyway, but I felt it must be unconditional. He never was a good father, in fact he was a rather horrible father, but he was my father nevertheless. Now in my dreams we are good friends. I'm glad I did not abandon him.


If your mother will waste money you give her on unnecessary things, you should not give her money.

In Buddhism, the most important thing is to live a wholesome life so suffering does not occur to your life.

In some cultures, such as in Thailand or among Australian aboriginals, families expect other family members to give them money.

But in Buddhism, although it is also expected children help their parents, Buddhism also says to not spend money on gambling, drugs, alcohol & nightlife.

Therefore, if your mother will waste money you give her, Buddhism teaches you should not give her money.

Buddhism says the duty of parents towards children is: "(i) they restrain them from evil, (ii) they encourage them to do good, (iii) they train them for a profession, (iv) they arrange a suitable marriage, (v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them."

Buddhism says the duty of children towards parents is: "Having supported me I shall support them".

Your mother did not do her duty to protect you from evil things & did not support you. Worse, your mother used you for wrong purposes & made you do wrong actions that hurt & did not bring happiness to you. Therefore, if you wish to leave your mother, this is not bad kamma in Buddhism.

The Buddhist teaching I mentioned can be read in the Sigalovada Sutta.

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    +1 for "Having supported me, I shall support them"
    – ruben2020
    Feb 11, 2018 at 4:41
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    "Having not supported me, i shall not support them" Feb 11, 2018 at 6:35

Forgive and forbear as much as you can but not as if you have an obligation.

Nature gives us a mother, not a good or bad mother; just a mother, and to wish that your mother to be good is the same us wishing the color blue to disappear.

If your mother is bad nature has blessed you with circumstance to practice courage, patience, charity and many more virtues. But you should always remember that if you help her groaning and complaining it will amount to nothing, a virtue done as an obligation is a bile and is never a virtue. You have to wholeheartedly forgive her and proceed to act virtuously with no obligation but with love.

If your mother was blind you won't abandon her, so you shouldn't abandon her when she is blinded in the higher faculty and doesn't know what is good and bad.


Right Effort is something we should apply to everything. We should always think of what is best for ourselves and others.

And what is right effort? Here the monk arouses his will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts his mind, and strives to prevent the arising of evil and unwholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. He arouses his will... and strives to eliminate evil and unwholesome mental states that have already arisen. He arouses his will... and strives to generate wholesome mental states that have not yet arisen. He arouses his will, puts forth effort, generates energy, exerts his mind, and strives to maintain wholesome mental states that have already arisen, to keep them free of delusion, to develop, increase, cultivate, and perfect them. This is called right effort.

Being with your mother sounds like it won't be conducive to Right Effort for yourself OR her.

Chronically ill-behaved people are frequently better off without you.

I would suggest making your preparations to do what brings you peace, freedom, and happiness.

What is truly good for yourself is also good for others. It is hard to imagine a situation where someone does what is truly good for themselves and ends up hurting others in a way that would not have happened anyway.

When you follow your bliss, those who are meant to join your journey will join you--those who are not meant to, will fall away.

Also, compassion has its limits before it becomes masochism, enablement, self-ruin.

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    To me, an excellent answer. Feb 11, 2018 at 3:15
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    the last part, especially the last sentence, might have helped save my life... thanks Apr 4, 2019 at 11:57
  1. Lodge a complaint with the police regarding the sexual assault.
  2. If you think you cannot change your mother, stop worrying about her and move on with your life.
  3. Give support only if you can manage, if you can't afford it, don't do it. It is much better to offer alms or give support to virtuous beings.
  4. Practice Upekkha meditation on your mother whenever she causes you stress.
    • All beings are owners of their deeds. Whose [if not theirs] is the choice by which they will become happy, or will get free from suffering, or will not fall away from the success they have reached?

Young woman, your current situation like before as well, is not for sure, can chance even that very moment. So when ever there is something possible to be given, give, at least, just what is given is not lost while short comfort is. How much has been given to you? What can be said as having gained without suffering and sacrifies by others at fist place? Not anything, or?

What ever you can do and give without doing something wrong for the sake of your parents is good done. What ever does neither harm one self nor others is always good to use to share. What ever is gained proper and is rightly yours: gain and share with best wishes.

Once one has been worse, not a little aware of what has been given without any real need to do it, not even to carry for month, give body and birth. Even if not perfect as it could be, one owes much, not easy to repay.

Don't fall into arrogance and greed or even without proper gratidude (as so many people easy become when they are or feel more securce then their previous supporters, yet forgetting that their situation now is also not a lasting, not sure) and it's not wrong to give back with joy and even with more wisdom as having been given.

"Monks, I will teach you the level of a person of no integrity and the level of a person of integrity. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Now what is the level of a person of no integrity? A person of no integrity is ungrateful & unthankful. This ingratitude, this lack of thankfulness, is advocated by rude people. It is entirely on the level of people of no integrity. A person of integrity is grateful & thankful. This gratitude, this thankfulness, is advocated by civil people. It is entirely on the level of people of integrity."

{II,iv,2} "I tell you, monks, there are two people who are not easy to repay. Which two? Your mother & father. Even if you were to carry your mother on one shoulder & your father on the other shoulder for 100 years, and were to look after them by anointing, massaging, bathing, & rubbing their limbs, and they were to defecate & urinate right there [on your shoulders], you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. If you were to establish your mother & father in absolute sovereignty over this great earth, abounding in the seven treasures, you would not in that way pay or repay your parents. Why is that? Mother & father do much for their children. They care for them, they nourish them, they introduce them to this world. But anyone who rouses his unbelieving mother & father, settles & establishes them in conviction; rouses his unvirtuous mother & father, settles & establishes them in virtue; rouses his stingy mother & father, settles & establishes them in generosity; rouses his foolish mother & father, settles & establishes them in discernment: To this extent one pays & repays one's mother & father."

See also: MN 110; SN 7.14; AN 4.73; Iti 106.

Kataññu Suttas: Gratitude

One who gives is never poor while even the riches person without real generosity and lack of gratidute is the most poor person in this world.

Who do you like to be? A rich outwardly or a real rich who does not care of what people without integrity might think and say? It's all of your choice, short and cheap happiness or a heart at peace, fulfilled it's obligations and at lasting joy in remembering his/her gratitude, generosity and virtue, equal the Devas and great men.

Be aware that you ask here in an enviroment of people with grave wrong view even suggesting foolish or bad thing in the name of Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, so generally you must be very gifted not to simply follow fools advocating in accordiance with also you own defilements and tenencies to greed, aversion and delution.

One feeling deeply obligated to ones parents, even if a mass of fools laugh at it, even if meeting many burdens, is by far more secure to gain real wealth as the modern and western fools, how ever sucessful they might appear for now.

"These three things have been promulgated by wise people, by people of integrity. Which three? Generosity... going-forth [from the home life]... & service to one's mother & father. These three things have been promulgated by wise people, by people of integrity." AN 3.45

No one fails in recognize someone with even slight doubts "but" and "if's" in this regard as fools and one does always good to avoid them like fire and poision.

  1. . "To support one's father and mother; to cherish one's wife and children, and to be engaged in peaceful occupations — this is the highest blessing.

  2. "Liberality, righteous conduct, rendering assistance to relatives, and performance of blameless deeds — this is the highest blessing.

Maha-mangala Sutta: Blessings

So it's up to you of whom you go after: those who abound their parents and previous supporters by their systems in rest houses, leave them up to others or people of integrity and still functioning society, carrying and having a heart, feeling obligated for even small gifts.

It's easy and quick managed to join into the foolish-hood.

Here are some usefull teaching in general on this topic:

A starter into Dhamma is gratitude and without it, there is no progress on the path, mostly even no reason to seek for the path.

Look at certain, even most answers here and if a little wise you may find out in what ugly society you actually have found yourself. If not seeing know yourself as having become or be another with less hope.

Western or modern minded people, being not blessed to live among people with even basic right view, especially those "Vipassana-householders" with no gratitude and virtue at all, are not capable to even grasp basics no matter how much they might learn, know or practice with corrupted hearts and lack of any real integrity and good principles.

Gratitude is a sign of a good person. And it is an attitude that gives rise to more goodness within us... Karma & Gratitude

At least, to some aspects of your qiestion and if willing to be or become a good friend for all others, you may consider marks of good people also here:

"A friend endowed with these three qualities is worth associating with. Which three? He/she gives what is hard to give, does what is hard to do, endures (pardon) what is hard to endure (pardon). A friend endowed with these three qualities is worth associating with."

— AN 3.133

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

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    As I understading, when the Buddha refer to duty toward parents, he means those whom properly raise and take care of their children (in the case of @Curly99 that would be her adoptive parents). Her biological mother seems to have done much harm to her. How would she feel gratitude? Metta towards her is proper, but gratitude or duty seems unfit.
    – Danilo
    Feb 11, 2018 at 18:05
  • That's your and most western or better modern idea, based on certain ideas of rights and grave wrong view, not to speak of the lack of any generosity and giving within it, @Danilo . Nobody has a need to give you even body and birth , nobody would even need to explain you anything. Think about it and work on it. No way to gain anything based on grave wrong view and ingratitude. Feb 12, 2018 at 0:05

A fully enlightened Buddha could have handled a relationship with a person such as your mother . This is because they are spiritually so powerful that her negative actions towards them does not effect them . You are on the other hand a spiritual novice. You do not have the spiritual strength to handle the negativity that comes from your mother. 100% of people living on this earth cannot. I know one day when you become enlightened and you are put in the same situation you will be able to handle the negativity. For now, and for your own spiritual development , it is highly toxic and dangerous for you to be around your mother or anyone like her. Right now you need all the conducive conditions to practice , to develop and grow.Your mother is hindering that progress.

Buddha said in the Kalama Sutta

"When you know for yourselves that these things are wholesome... these things, when entered upon and undertaken, incline toward welfare and happiness — then, Kalamas, having come to them you should stay with them"

Look at it this way : Interacting with your mother will it lead to welfare and happiness for all beings in the world? The way I see it , she will destroy your mental peace , which will lead you to withhold the gifts you bring to the world, and will contribute to her spoiling her own karma.

Avoiding her will lead to you being more happy and contributing to the world, bringing more peace and joy to the people around you.

Think about it , which act will be more wholesome.

Yes , the Buddha did say that we should be greatful for our parents, if our parents are wrong he said , we should try to bring them in the path of the dhamma , by helping them to become more virtuous. By now allowing your mother to manipulate you and spoil you , you are allowing her not to create more negative karma. If she listens to some reason and tries to lead a more virtuous life, and if you can find a way to make that happen for her that is the best gift that you can give her. If giving money to her means that she will spend it on alcohol, do not give it to her to enable her.

Wish you all the best. Remember you are precious, we are waiting for your gifts. Do not let anyone or anything stop you from giving the world all the beautiful gifts that you have inside you. May you find peace.

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    Like ones mother or ...? People have different ways to deal with "beauty" and causes have effects. Doesn't things fast remind on "Children, Bullets" here: "They're an affair of kamma, our children." Something to think on if specially touched by children in bikini on Dhamma places. Some call improper attachments compassioned and helpful. My person prevers to be called ugly if really ugly and not of beauty in help. Why divest others to become really beautiful? To be honored and broadly beloved? Peace is not denying,or? Feb 12, 2018 at 12:57

Not exactly a Buddhist answer.

Based on your description you have already left your mother. And you seems to be asking to about going on No-Contact, which may be an option when dealing with highly toxic people. While I may be wrong, your description do not show such need.

However you may need to setup healthy boundaries and learn to say no, when saying yes would put your own well being in trouble. Even when they try to guilt you in to doing them. End of the day you can decide when to help and not help.

I also see an opportunity to grow here. People may ask for your help or try to manipulate you emotionally. While you do not have to give in to these attempts, this may make you angry/sad as a reaction. It is this reaction that make your life unpleasant. This reaction is one of your own. Not your mothers.

This is something you can work on. Practicing mindfulness on day to day life can help. Use your mothers attempt to manipulate you and your own reaction when you recall such attempts as a test. And next time she call or next time this come your mind, check how much it bother you.

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