(Bart Simpson sees Principal Skinner in the waiting room of a psychiatrist's office)You probably know her. You might even live with her. A Mother who tries too hard to control their children's lives. Often (but certainly not always), they are the mothers of sons, and for whatever reasons can have a bit of trouble cutting the apron strings; as a result, no matter how old the boy (or, for added humor value, man) is, he'll be mothered relentlessly, his mother absolutely smothering him with parental affection... and authority. Using either carrot or stick (sometimes both), his mother will go to any lengths to make sure that, whether he wants to or not, he's not going to be leaving his mother's embrace any time soon. Any attempts on his part will usually result in a passive-aggressive guilt trip for trying to break away and do his own thing. Her poor son, as a result of such domination and badgering, usually ends up a Momma's Boy. A lot of these mothers are Jewish for some reason, though they are also oftentimes Catholic, serving double-duty as a conduit for Catholic Guilt. The family where the Beloved Smother lives usually features a Disappeared Dad. The Smother may be a single mother, or the father is a Henpecked Husband; either way, he takes no independent part in raising the child, passing all control to her. The child has no siblings and more often than not is late-born. Bonus points if the Beloved Smother has had trouble getting pregnant or if the child itself has or had some illness to protect from and take care of. The greatest threat however, as perceived by the Smother, lies in the opposite sex. To a son, she will constantly preach that all women are Gold Diggers who are plotting towards a Divorce Assets Conflict; to a daughter, that All Men Are Perverts who will leave her barefoot and pregnant, literally. Any Love Interest that her son may attract will be immediately regarded as a rival for the son's love by the Beloved Smother, and the woman will be belittled, harassed and spied-on to varying degrees of obsession. (Hell, the Smother might actually have been through it herself.) If her son happens to break free and marry the woman he loves, then that unfortunate woman will find herself coping with the Mother-In-Law From Hell, who will be hyper-critical, dismissive and condemning of everything she does to the point where it may even break the marriage apart if her son doesn't do something to curtail his mother's interference. Alternatively, if she spots a potential mate for her son of whom she does approve, she will relentlessly try to pair them up, ignoring any signs that the "happy couple" are losing interest in each other (or never were romantically attracted in the first place). In the most favorable depiction, the Beloved Smother genuinely does love her son and wants him to be happy; she just has a little bit of trouble letting him go, and her plot arc usually revolves around the gradual realization that he's his own man and that she needs to cut the apron strings for his own good (and, usually, hers as well), and that his moving away from her doesn't equal that he doesn't love her in return. At worst, she's a Control Freak Evil Matriarch who will stop at nothing — not even murder — to make sure that Mommy's Little Angel remains with her at all costs. For added Squick value, Mommy and Son may be a bit too close in the wrong kinds of ways... It is rarer for daughters in fiction to have trouble with the Smother, but not unheard of; if the girl is unlucky enough to have a Smother, then things will be much the same (although rather than actively preventing their children from having a life outside of her, a Smother who has a daughter will usually instead start badgering her about why they aren't married and providing her with grandchildren on a constant basis). With daughters, however, the dominance may sometimes have an edge of competition as well, as they tend to view their own daughters as rivals. Smothers of daughters are often ex-Alpha Bitches or cheerleaders who tend to bully and harass their daughters into following their footsteps as a way of living their past glories through their children. Like most tropes, it's a Truth in Television; Psychiatrist Carl Jung identified this archetype as the Terrible Mother, an over-nurturer who, in smothering her child, ends up stifling them to the point of hampering individuation and personal growth. When a queen is acting as regent, she often will smother the young king as well, and expect to control the king after he comes of age. If she actually succeeds in taking control of her children, those characters will end up with Mommy Issues. May double up with Safety Worst. May overlap with Meddling Parents and Education Mama. Compare Overprotective Dad and/or Fantasy-Forbidding Father. Contrast Hands-Off Parenting. If it's a more action-based series where the offspring being "smothered" is in trouble and the Smother is an Action Mom, see Mama Bear. If the mom was a child star and pushes her kid into stardom, she's a Stage Mom. May lead to Calling the Old Women Out or an Anti-Smother Love Talk.
Bart: I don't believe it! Principal Skinner. Well, well, well, I never thought I'd win this easy.
Skinner: Hmph. This has nothing to do with you, Simpson. I have many, many issues with my beloved smother — mother!
Bart: I don't believe it! Principal Skinner. Well, well, well, I never thought I'd win this easy.
Skinner: Hmph. This has nothing to do with you, Simpson. I have many, many issues with my beloved smother — mother!
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- A recent commercial for Taco Bell features a guy whose life is run at least in part by his mother. She is shown to be intrusive in a couple places and makes a lot of suggestions. She also seems to only be able to communicate in run-off sentences. At the end, you discover that the commercial is an advertisement for Taco Bell's "Smother Burrito".
Anime & Manga
- By contrast to Patrick Zala, Ezaria Joule from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED is this to her son Yzak. Ironically, despite the fact she has similar beliefs to Patrick, this actually humanizes her, mostly because she does care about her flesh and blood beyond a means to her projected ends.
- One Slayers OVA is based around Lina and Naga being hired by a rich, horrifically controlling noblewoman to help her son Jeffrey become a knight. Jeffrey has delusions of being a Knight in Shining Armor, but is immensely sickly and kind of a dip. Insult him, however, and his (masked) mother will crush you with a giant hammer. While yelling about how you dared insult her boy. Ultimately, Jeffrey confronts a local Evil Overlord... his long-lost father, who just couldn't put up with that woman anymore.
- Meshou, Ritsu Sohma's mother in Fruits Basket. She's one of the few Sohma parents who doesn't abuse or neglect their cursed kids, but despite her good intentions she's a Shrinking Violet who apologizes for everything, thus Ritsu ends up just as insecure and prone to ditziness and apologies as his mom.
- Kyo Sohma's mother counts, too, in an even less healthy way. She basically kept him indoors 90% of his life, claiming it was "because he was so cute she didn't want anybody else to see him," constantly checked to make sure the beads that keep him from transforming were still in place, and in general kept up a very forced display of motherly love towards him. This only compounded his issues later on since he could tell even as a child that she was faking and in actuality was terrified of him. Thankfully he got over it.
- In Spirited Away, Yubaba keeps her baby sheltered in a room, telling him he must never leave because of germs, and relentlessly indulges him, producing a Spoiled Brat. When he is transformed into a mouse and his mother does not recognize him, he goes with Chihiro, becoming her friend; on their return, he shows his mother that he can stand on his own and demands that she be nice to Chihiro.
- RahXephon: Maya Kamina is well-intentioned but extremely smothering of her son Ayato. Or better said, her nephew, since Ayato's biological mom is her twin sister Quon.
- Furoku Tsukumo, mother of Teen Genius Susumu on Wandaba Style falls into this. She's the Designated Villain of the series because she wants Susumu, who left home to conduct his eco-friendly space experiments, to acknowledge that the 1969 moon landing wasn't faked and to recognize her maternal authority. He is only thirteen, after all.
- Chi-Chi in Dragon Ball Z ends up as this to Gohan. She mellows out with Goten.
- In a Detective Conan case, Akio's mother was this. So much that she wants to save her beloved Akio from being imprisoned after killing his apparently abusive dad... by locking him in the basement of their home. Akio ends up crossing the Despair Event Horizon since he does want to turn himself in, and it's up to Conan to help him convince his mother to let him atone.
- One episode in Pokémon featured a Pokemon coordinator Timmy, who had issues with his strict and overprotective mother, Mrs. Grimm. She's an Education Mama and has a problem with him entering contests and him interacting with Pokemon, because she herself was forced to give up her Poocheyena when she was younger, and she didn't want her son to experience the heartbreak she went through. Thankfully, she realizes the errors of her ways in the end and becomes less overprotective of Timmy, just as long as he doesn't allow contests to interfere with his studies.
- Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage 3 centers on Maamu, a Tapir who just wants to protect her son Yumeta's happiness by trapping kids in a dream world so they can play with Yumeta forever. It takes every Cure from the series up to that point note to convince her that her methods are having the opposite result.
- Fate Testarossa-Harlaown is normally a Good Parent, but she shows shades of this in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. This is best seen in episode ten when Erio and Caro have the day off and she tells them to be careful while they're in the city and offers to give them some money, forgetting that they're both skilled soldiers who are on payroll. It's mainly caused by her overcompensating out of fear that she'll end up like her biological mother.
- In Assassination Classroom, there's Nagisa Shiota's mother Hiromi. She asserts her control over her son at every opportunity, trying to make every major decision for him in an attempt to guide him through the life path she wanted for herself. She refuses to allow him to have any say and even goes so far as to assert that, as the one who birthed and raised him, she owns him. Unlike other smothers, she eventually realises that she's wrong and stops doing this.
- Jo Koy has a bit where he discusses his Filipino mother warning him, a grown man, about the dangers of "rupees" (roofies).
- Used many times by cartoonist Will Eisner, to the highest degree imaginable in the story "Mortal Combat" in his graphic novel "Invisible People".
- Chas' very domineering (and supernaturally charged) bed-ridden mother in Hellblazer. It's implied that she killed her husband, and Chas is only free of her domination after John kills her familiar. Naturally, his own wife is just as controlling, albeit ambulatory, neater in dress and habit, and a Muggle.
- Flash Forward's mother in Doom Patrol. It's telling that he, an irreverent braggart and smart alec, is immediately cowed when he realizes his mom has his phone number. She also corrects his grammar over the phone.
- When it comes to Batman Villains...
- Hush's mother was like this, in addition to having a drunken and abusive father. When, as a child, he tried to kill them by cutting their brakes, his mother not only survived, but the incident made her even more clinging and controlling, demanding her son's constant presence. When he heard Bruce Wayne's parents were killed and he wouldn't have to deal with that, his main thought was: "That lucky bastard.".
- Most variations of the Penguin's backstory at this point showcase this. It was added that his habit of always having an umbrella started after his mother forced him to carry one no matter what when his father died of pneumonia when caught out in the rain. One of the things that contributed to him facing ridicule from his peers.
- The title character in Mel Lazarus' Momma could be the poster
childmother for this trope.
- Grossout's mother from Scare Tactics was definitely one of these.
- "Mummy's Boy" was a strip that ran in the British comic Monster Fun (and later Buster). The title character was forced to wear a bonnet and baby clothes and was pushed around in a pram by his overbearing mother, even though he was almost a teenager. Everything Boy wanted to do was "too dangerous", or "for bigger boys". The latest gadgets and games he yearned for were "too sharp" or "too difficult" for him — he was hopelessly swaddled.
- When it comes to SpiderMan Villains...
- One origin story for Doctor Octopus had his abusive father killed in an industrial accident, leaving his mother to depend on him. When he grew up, one of his lab assistants was attracted to him, but after his mother found out, tongue-lashed him so severely that he broke off with her without explaining why. Then one Otto comes home to find Mother making out with a man, and...
- Electro also had a controlling mother who demeaned his intelligence, preventing him from following his dreams to become something like a scientist or an engineer, in order to keep him home with her and convinced him to get a rather lowly job at the local power company.
- De Kiekeboes: Marcel Kiekeboe's mother, Moemoe, is a Manipulative Bastard who will frequently try to make him feel guilty about not doing everything she demands from him. Often results in an All for Nothing resolution or Dude Where Is My Respect.
- The new Ms. Marvel has this problem to contend with in addition to getting her powers out of the blue: having grown up in a Muslim household, Kamala has problems trying to juggle her family life and coming to grips with her new skillset. Since the girl is too frightened to outright tell her family what happened, her mother immediately assumes she's becoming a degenerate and is constantly reaming on her shirking her responsibilities. Her father is more understanding (as he thinks she just feels stifled at her age), but no less strict, and her brother, while being fervently religious to the point of openly denouncing the father's profession as a banker, just prefers to remain neutral. Eventually, however, Kamala's parents figure out her secret and accept it, since they know she is out doing good for the people around her.
- Jeremy's mom in Zits sometimes these exhibits these tendencies, although whether this is actually how she is or merely how he sees her is typically open to question.
- Almost every mother that appears at length in Bloom County fits this trope: Bobbi's mother, Steve's mother, Lola's mother, Opus' mother... (In fact, Opus' mother issues are so severe that one series of strips depicted his imaginary feminine ideal as the embodiment of this trope.)
- This Retail comic strip. The son may also be a Basement-Dweller.
- Homecoming: Marty thinks Clara gets too nervous about such things as the way he plays with her sons, although he cuts her some slack since she's new to the time period.
- Earth and Sky: Twilight Sparkle edges toward this when it comes to Spike.
- In Robb Returns, Lysa Arryn is one to her son, Robert. So much that she deliberately poisoned him to keep him weak and dependent on her.
Films — Animation
- Mother Gothel in Tangled needs Rapunzel's healing hair to retain her beauty and has successfully scared Rapunzel into staying in the tower for almost two decades.
- The Lion King 1½ reveals that Timon has one. Her situation is a bit understandable since she's raised Timon all by herself (with the help of her brother/brother-in-law, Max) and she's tried her best to help him feel like he belongs.
- The Other Mother in The Film of the Book Coraline.
- Queen Elinor in Brave falls into this at times while wanting the best for her daughter Merida. Merida however does not appreciate that her mother "is in charge of every single day of her life."
Films — Live-action
- Aunt Martha in Sleepaway Camp is an adoptive version of this to Angela. Who is actually her nephew Peter; she wanted a girl, so she forced Peter to adopt his recently-drowned sister's identity.
- Arguably, Violet's mother in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). Mother and daughter dress alike (Violet, thankfully, does not wear Mom's slathered-on makeup), and Mom is constantly pushing Violet to compete. That said, Violet seems to enjoy it.
- The mom from A Christmas Story. Especially with the younger kid. She wraps him in so many layers for the walk to school, he can't put his arms down. Even his freak out fear-crying doesn't faze her. Plus, the tolerance of his bizarre eating habits. Ralphie gets the smothering too, but to a lesser extent ("You'll shoot your eye out!").
- Though she only appears in one scene, Max's mother in Collateral had full control over her son despite being confined to a wheel chair. Memorably, she chastises him for bringing her flowers, only to do an about face when he tells her the flowers are from his "friend" Vincent.
- Polly Cronin, Lizzie's mother in Drop Dead Fred.
- Lionel's mother in Braindead. Even when she turns into a zombie, her son is unable to confront her until the very end.
- Ice Princess. Both the main character's mother and The Rival's mother are forcing their own ambitions upon their daughters. Even the parents of secondary and background characters seem to follow this trope.
- Jack Spade's mother in I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, who insists that he put on a sweater before he goes out and fights against men twice her size to protect him. When he goes up against Mr. Big, she shows up with a shotgun to join in. Her son eventually breaks free by locking her in a closet until the fight's over — which pisses her off no end.
- The Black Queen in MirrorMask. Her smothering behaviour is why the Rebellious Princess ran away, and used for one hell of a Brainwashed sequence.
Black Queen: You mean, let her choose her own food... her own clothes, make her own decisions. Love her, don't try to possess her?Helena: That's exactly what I mean.Black Queen: (beat) Absolutely out of the question.
- Monster-in-Law pits a Beloved Smother against the woman her son is engaged to. However she gets better after her assistant points out both that she is far worse than her own mother-in-law and that her actions (to make her son happy) are unwarrented: he IS happy.
- In The Love Guru part of Darren Roanoke's mother pressured him to succeed from a young age, and only showed him affection when he did. Part of his marriage troubles stemed from the belief that his wife would only love him as long as he succeeded like his mom. When Darren felt afraid of playing again, his mother believed his fear was from not pressuring him even harder.
- In Oedipus Wrecks, Woody Allen's segment from the 1989 anthology film New York Stories, Allen's character has one of these. When the mother "permanently" disappears as part of a magic show, he thinks his troubles are over... until she re-appears as a giant disembodied head in the New York sky and starts bossing him around for the entire city to hear.
- Billy Bibbit in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a particularly dark example, as the Big Nurse's threat of telling his mom about his sexual escapades in the final part drives him to suicide.
- Mrs. Railton-Bell, Sybil's awful mother in Separate Tables. She tells Sylvia what to do, what to eat, and what to think. She won't let Sybil get a job and she's determined to stop any hint of romance between Sybil and Major Pollock.
- In Now, Voyager, Charlotte Vale's mother is a particularly nasty version of this trope, controlling her daughter and keeping her from being independent through emotional abuse.
- The mother of John Candy's policeman character in Only the Lonely, right up to the guilt trips and the relentless tormenting of the son's shy, withdrawn Love Interest. Many of the guilt trips even occurred within her own son's imagination, as he'd guilt-trip himself with vivid fantasies of all the horrible things that might happen to her without him around (inevitably ending with a close-up of her ironically wishing him a good time with whatever he was doing at that moment).
- The film, Marty starring Ernest Borgnine also counts as this, as the John Candy version is actually a remake.
- Mrs Bates from Psycho who manages to smother Norman throughout the story even though she's dead.
- It is actually suggested that the relationship between Norman and his real mother was something of an inversion of this trope, with him being obsessively dependent on and possessive of her despite her wish for him to be more independent, ultimately leading him to murder her and her lover as he did not want to share her.
- Hitchcock gives us another nightmare mother in Notorious. Alex's mother not only seems to be instrumental in his Nazi activities, but she responds very badly to his falling for Alicia.
- There's an actual movie called Smother. Care to guess what the mother's like?
- The entire point of Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot is Stallone's character being humiliated by the presence of his mother.
- Owen's mother from Throw Momma from the Train.
- The mother of Bobby Boucher (Adam Sandler's character) in The Waterboy. She eventually reveals that she was pretending to be a domineering Evil Matriarch due to the pain of his father deserting them, realizing that Bobby needs to have his own life, and helps him get to the big game at the end.
- In The Manchurian Candidate war hero Raymond Shaw is dominated by his mother Eleanor to the point where she's able to force him to break up with the girl he's fallen in love with. This winds up central to the plot as being so conditioned to obey his mother leaves him ripe for Soviet brainwashing. His trigger is even a Queen Of Diamonds playing card because it reminds him of his mother. Oh, and Mrs. Shaw is the Communist agent who's feeding him his orders.
- Sam Witwicky's mom in the Transformers movies.
- The Mexican Mind Screw Santa Sangre (Holy Blood), directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky, is about an armless mother — maimed by her husband after she discovers about his affair — literally taking control of his son's hands and using them to exact vengeance and commit murder, although The Reveal suggests that it is all in the son's mind, the mother not having survived the mutilation.
- Vicente's mom in the Colombian Dramedy "Mama, Tomate La Sopa" ("Mom, Drink the Soup"). The main conflict of the story is Vicente trying to get a business on his own and getting the woman he wants, as his mother's smothering nature have impede him from getting anything on his own, which he thinks makes him of no value.
- In the movie Heartbreakers, Sigourney Weaver plays a Smother, although quite tame by the rest of the examples on this page. She sincerely doesn't want her daughter's heart to be broken. However, she will con and lie to her daughter to achieve this. But near the end, when she sees that her daughter truly was in love with their last con, the con that the Smother drugged, she comes clean, and lets her daughter live her life.
- Howard Hughes' mother in The Aviator, who caused his Super OCD.
- Gordon/Fester's mother Margaret in The Addams Family. Although to be fair, she's not actually his mother; she just took him in after finding him unconscious and amnesiac many years ago..
Gordon/Fester: (before opening the book, 'The Hurricane') "You were a terrible mother! (laughs) THERE! I SAID IT!!!
- Nina's mother in Black Swan who cripples her daughter's development by her overbearing parenting style and interference.
- X-Men Film Series:
- Although Charles is Raven's foster brother in X-Men: First Class, he tends to behave more like her Parental Substitute (this is confirmed in X-Men: Days of Future Past when he tells Erik that he had "raised" her). Xavier is so overprotective of his sister that it had stifled Raven's psychological growth as an adult, and she resents his pushiness to the point where they become estranged. Erik reminds Charles that the latter "...grew up with her. She couldn't stay a little girl forever, that's why she left." By the end of Days of Future Past, Xavier finally accepts that Raven is her own person and stops trying to influence her.
- In a more general sense, Professor X doesn't encourage those who are closest to him to be fully independent as adults. Although most of his students eventually leave the school after graduation and assimilate into human society, those who are part of the X-Men never "leave the nest," so to speak. They stay together as a surrogate family while living under Xavier's roof, working as teachers, and Charles continues to exert his paternal authority over them even when they're roughly 57 years old (as shown with Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm in the Alternate Timeline 2023 scene of Days of Future Past—heck, Beast would be around 80!).
- X-Men: Apocalypse: Although Xavier is wiser in the Alternate Timeline and knows that he shouldn't "cage the beast" when it comes to the Phoenix, he still keeps his daughter figure Jean on a tight leash by the way he nurtures her. His goal is to placate as much as possible the "fire" within her before it consumes everything and everyone in its path. To borrow a theme from First Class, Charles carefully molds the emotional comfort he offers to Jean as the "serenity" which can quell to some degree the "rage" of her wild "flames." His manipulation of her is so well-crafted that he dictates when the Phoenix—a force of nature—is free to spread its wings. Jean is now a "goddess" in comparison to Professor X, yet she remains subservient to her surrogate father, and it's implied that they're closer in the new timeline than in the old one. While there's no denying that he controls her with love, it does bring about the best outcome Xavier can hope for in terms of Jean being wholly in charge of the Phoenix, and not vice-versa. In this instance, his coddling is portrayed as having a positive impact on her psychological maturation. Bryan Singer outlines in his commentary the sway Charles has over Jean:
Singer: 'It was just a dream' [...] He lies to her. Because he knows, because he's such a powerful psychic, [...] the power of Phoenix is growing inside her, and it's going to become out of control. And she's terrified of it, but doesn't understand it. And he does understand it. And he can't let on to her that he understands it because it would be too frightening, and she would run away. So this scene is all about control. All about keeping that power, and keeping it all under control. And only at the end of the movie does he give her permission [...] to explore her power.
- Jessica Lange plays Martha, an Evil Matriarch version of the trope in the movie Hush, opposite Gwyneth Paltrow as her daughter in law Helen. Not only she killed her husband to cover up how she was cheating on him and she aborted her unborn first baby when she learned said baby was a girl and not a boy, but she intends to isolate Helen from everyone even during childbirth (she succeeds) and then kill her so she can have her son Jackson and her baby grandson Kyle all to herself. (She fails).
- Awake: Clayton's mother Lillith's over-protective nature is the main reason that he is afraid of telling her about his engagement, as he knows she would never accept Sam. She also tries to get him to drop Jack, his best friend, as his heart surgeon in favor of an acquaintance of hers who is at the top of the field. As it turns out, she was right on both counts.
- Almost the premise of J. Edgar.
- Mrs. Robinson from The Graduate.
- In the CBC movie Jack, about Canadian politician Jack Layton, Olivia is portrayed early in the movie as living with her mother out of tradition; said mother is portrayed as being very picky about who her daughter should date, and very critical of Jack.
Jack: Ten years in civic politics, and I'm not afraid of your mother.Olivia: You should be.
- The premise of the film Guilt Trip.
- Gaylord Focker's mom in Meet the Fockers.
- There is a mother/daughter version in Sightseers. Carol is not happy to see her thirty-something daughter Tina go off on a holiday with her new boyfriend Chris. In one scene, we see Carol lying in a heap at the foot of the stairs, pressing the button on her panic alarm pendant. When Tina does not reply, Carol gets up and walks off.
- Penny Pingleton's mother Prudy treats her like this in Hairspray, forbidding her from watching "The Corny Collins Show" and from visiting Tracy's house.
- Rhonda's mother in Muriel's Wedding, though she's a lot more well-meaning about it than many of these examples.
- The female protagonist of The Piano Teacher is aged around 40, but still single and living with her mother.
- In The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Doña Maria “could not prevent herself from persecuting Doña Clara with nervous attention and a fatiguing love.” Maria, who has no one else in her life to love, focuses all her energy and attentions on her daughter, which winds up alienating Clara from her mother.
- The Other Mother in Neil Gaiman's Coraline.
- A variation on this character regularly crops up in Stephen King's work.
- Eddie Kaspbrak's mother from Stephen King's IT was like this. He eventually married a woman who was the exact same way.
- Frannie Goldsmith has one in The Stand, as does Susan Norton in 'Salem's Lot, John Leandro in The Tommyknockers, there's another in Rage, yet another in his Rose Red TV miniseries, and the crazy-mother stand-in in Misery, not to mention Carrie's own crazy religious fanatic mother.
- In The Dead Zone, Frank Dodd's mother is a particularly horrible example. In a flashback, when he had his first erection, she was so appalled that she attached a clothespin to it for hours.
- Discworld example with Nanny Ogg. She is very much like this with most of the Ogg family, especially her own sons. Including Jason, the blacksmith who is built like a troll and is the greatest farrier in the world. She also seems incapable of seeing her cat, Greebo, as anything other than a tiny ball of fluff, despite Greebo being the meanest, nastiest creature within several hundred miles of Nanny's house. To her unlucky daughters-in-law, however, she verges on Evil Matriarch.
- In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, a retelling of Cupid and Psyche, Orual, Psyche's sister, raised her since Psyche's mother's death, and is a rather zealous mother figure.
- Many of Saki's stories feature aggressively coddling (and often psychologically abusive) mother figures, the best probably being "Sredni Vashtar". Interestingly, the Smother is not always the biological mother: In the aforementioned "Sredni Vashtar", it's the protagonist's adult cousin, appointed his guardian.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- The books feature, among other iffy mother figures, Lysa Arryn, the widow of Jon II Arryn. She's afraid the same assassins who killed her husband will come after her son Robert aka Robin — so far, so justified. Then you find out she still breast feeds her son. Did we mention he's six? Oh, and she caters to his every whim as well... including his wish to see Tyrion Lannister go flying out a window... and plummet several thousand feet to his death. It eventually comes out that she was the one who killed her husband, so even that justifiable reason for her over-protectiveness isn't actually justified. Hell, she killed Jon because he wanted Robert to be fostered with another lord, and she couldn't stand the thought of her baby going anywhere else...
- Cersei Lannister, Queen Regent of Westeros, who's lived her entire life under the proverbial Sword of Damocles in the form of a prophecy that says she'll have three children, they'll each be crowned and die shortly thereafter and she herself will be strangled to death by her own younger brother. It's little wonder she goes into Mama Bear overdrive from that point on, but it looks like she can't fight fate, as everything in the prophecy is starting to come true, right down to her two younger brothers nursing the thought of killing her eventually, and her eldest son Joffrey being killed while her other two kids's survival depends a lot on her....
- It's also partially due to this behavior that Joffrey ended up so vicious. Through a combination of obsessively sheltering him from any positive influences, and relentless coddling of his own negative behavior, she ensure that he had the petty stubbornness of a child, with all of her own shortsightedness and cruelty to go with it.
- Lady Olenna may seem to mostly be a harmless, if snarktastic, old biddy. Don't let that fool you: she's more than willing to step in and clean her little boy's political messes up for him behind his back when he gets in over his head, even now he's Lord Mace Tyrell with children of his own and (supposedly) the main power in High Garden. Or, do it in front of his face, for that matter (it's not like he'll notice). And, will tell him what an idiot he is (just like his fool of a father, if you hadn't guessed) where anybody can hear. At least she's a fairly benevolent form of the trope... as long as you don't try harming him, his siblings or their kids.
- Caroline Compson in The Sound and the Fury is this to her son Jason.
- Kareen to Pat Rin in the Liaden Universe novels.
- There is actually a book entitled My Beloved Smother. It's a mother-daughter case.
- Norman Page's mother in Peyton Place, who controls every aspect of his life and forbids him to spend time with girls. (Her harsh punishments have disturbing sexual connotations as well.) Her overbearing treatment is implied to contribute to Norman's nervous breakdown when he's away from her for the first time, as a soldier in World War II.
- The Belgariad has Polgara the Sorceress, who seems to teeter on the edge of this in her relationships with the Heirs of Irongrip, the entire country of Arendia, and just about everybody else who crosses her path. She keeps calling people 'dear' and telling them they're 'good boys'.
- Eleanor's mother, and the rest of her godawful family, in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.
- Isabel Kabra in The 39 Clues, to the point of threatening to KILL her kids if they won't do what she says.
- Naturally enough for a Mama Bear, Molly Weasley has moments of this, particularly with regards to her eldest son Bill's relationship with Fleur Delacour. Unusually for this trope, she gets over her initial doubts about Fleur and the two subsequently get along quite well.
- In Codex Alera, Antillus Dorotea is like this to her son, Crassus, to the point of horribly abusing and trying to kill his older half-brother so there's no threat to Crassus' inheritance. She gets better, though how much of that is her and how much of it is being imposed on her is up to interpretation.
- In Death: A number of female villains are this, like in the books Memory In Death and Born In Death. At least one of these villains have created Mommy Issues. Squick.
- In L. M. Montgomery's Jane of Lantern Hill, Jane's grandmother meddled with her mother's life to keep her with her.
- In another series by her, Emily of New Moon, Terry's mother loves her son to the point of hating anything that she feels he might love more, even going so far as to poison his dog.
- Madame Raquin in Thérèse Raquin, though she doesn't really mean to be. But she babies Camille and rules over Thérèse.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's Jill the Reckless, Lady Underhill.
- Miss Gentilbelle, to her niece, in Charles Beaumont's Miss Gentilbelle - also adapted by Hammer Films as an episode of the TV horror anthology, Journey To The Unknown.
- In Tamora Pierce's novel, Cold Fire , Morrachaine Ladradun is arguably this to her adult son, Ben Ladradun. She meddles with his finances and actively tries to keep him away from his job as a volunteer firefighter. He eventually has had enough and kills her, implied in a brutal way.
- In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Wu strategist Zhou Yu attempts a Batman Gambit to ensnare rival country Shu's leader Liu Bei into an Arranged Marriage with Sun Shang Xiang, the younger sister of Wu leader Sun Quan, for the sake of reclaiming disputed territory and ultimately killing Liu Bei. The plot falls apart when the Sun siblings' mother, the Empress Dowager, personally takes a liking to Liu Bei and dares any one of her son's men to lay a finger on her prospective son-in-law. (In third-century China, where Confucian ideals of extreme filial piety held sway, even battle-hardened warlords took their aged parents' commands very seriously.)
- In C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, this is one of the dangers of affection.
- Psycho. See film for the adaptation.
- Greta in Summers at Castle Auburn is very much a smother to Elisandra, and in her desire to see her daughter become queen, she doesn't seem to know anything about Elisandra as a person. This isn't out of malice, Greta simply doesn't look deeper than Elisandra's façade of calm.
- The Noob novels have this as Arthéon's backstory and deconstruct the idea of a current-day Geek having such a mother. He was initially interested in sports and other social activities, but his mother would be so vocal about encouraging him that it broke his concentration, giving her the impression he wasn't made for such activities. He ended up having to give them up altogether and turned to activities he could do from home, including playing the MMORPG in which most of the story is set and ending up in the game's top guild before it actually became the top guild. His mother, however, convinced that New Media Are Evil, forced him to stop playing at 8 P.M. every night (he was just turning twenty around then), forcing him to resort to Real Money Trade to keep up with his guildmates. His avatar got banned by Game Masters because of it and the genuine depression that ensued was a wake up call for his mother, who finally decided to get him a new computer and tell him she was okay with him playing. And thanks to the adaptation of a case of Real Life Writes the Plot from the original webseries (the actor playing Arthéon became less available for Season 3), the third novel has her send him to boarding school.
- In Susan Dexter's The True Knight, Queen Melcia toward her son. It leads to her executing people who fail to rescue him from Baleful Polymorph and inability to see that being restored to human form was killing him.
- Queen Isabel is completely devoted to her children and cares for them all herself in The Kingdom of Little Wounds. She's a terrible caregiver, and this backfires horribly.
- A couple of Rosemary Sutcliff's villainesses crush their offspring along with their enemies:
- Sword at Sunset: King Arthur thinks that his Bastard Bastard Medraut had a creepy, damaging relationship with his mother Ygerna, who conceived and raised him as a weapon against his father.
- The Mark of the Horse Lord: Murna has walled off her real personality in order to protect herself from her mother the Queen's all-consuming love.
- Journey to Chaos: When Tiza learns who her mother is, she realizes that Sathel's constant worry and fawning should have been a dead giveaway.
- In the fourth Dragon Jousters book, Kiron finally finds his long-lost mother. Who then proceeds to spend the rest of the book nagging him to marry the girl she picked out for him and reclaim the family farm. The fact that Kiron is already engaged, is a close personal friend of the new king, and is now head of an entire branch of the military (And dragons can't just be casually passed to a new Jouster like a cavalry horse can, which makes retiring to pursue a different career difficult), which effectively makes him high-end nobility, is irrelevant. Finally, at the end of the book, both Kiron and the girl his mother wants him to marry (Who likes him, but doesn't want to marry him, and wants to do more with her life than rebuild a farm) both tell her to shut up.
- Nora Walker on Brothers and Sisters is this for her sons and daughters alike, as well as the illegitimate children of her late husband - despite the fact that some of them are around 40! She is wholly incapable of not trying to control their lives and will relentlessly stalk escapees into other countries (well, Mexico anyway) because she cannot allow them to be outside the range of her influence. The only exception was her daughter Kitty, who managed to spend several years living in New York because Kitty's passionate political conservatism clashed with Nora's equally passionate liberalism leading to them fighting constantly until Kitty moved away.
- Frasier Crane's mother Hester — in Cheers she threatens to kill Diane if she doesn't stop dating her son ("I've got a gun and I'm not afraid to use it!"), and later tries to bribe Sam into stealing Diane back from Frasier.
- Daphne Moon's horrendous mother still seeks to criticise, dominate and exert control from six thousand miles away in Manchester, England. It gets even worse when she moves to Seattle.
- On Angel, Phantom Dennis' mother walled him up rather than let him run off & get married. His spirit destroys her ghost.
- Dallas matriarch Miss Ellie throws a crying jag every time her thirtysomething (Bobby) and fortysomething (J.R.) sons even suggest moving out of the Southfork ranch.
- Lucille Bluth of Arrested Development with her youngest son, Buster.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- The show has a mother-daughter variant, where Catherine Madison pressures her daughter to be just like her. When Amy refuses, Catherine uses magic to switch places with her daughter.
- Spike's mother. Smothering went sideways into sick, evil-land when newly minted vampire Spike turns his own mother. Spike's mother, who is of course now possessed by a demon, tries to shag him. She claims she couldn't wait to get rid of him.
- Joyce is this, according to Buffy.
- Michael Westen's mom Madeleine in Burn Notice, at least in season 1. She eventually becomes a low-action sort of Mama Bear, to the point of standing up to the FBI to protect him. It's a thoroughly suitable retirement for Christine Cagney.
- Pike's mum in Dad's Army, who made him wear a scarf whenever he went on parade as a result of his 'croup'. It's implied on several occasions that much of her over-mothering was a desperate attempt to prevent him from being called up to fight in the war.
- Most American sitcoms from the late 90's to nowadays have at least one of these:
- There are plenty of British examples as well. Ronnie Corbett played a middle-aged man still living at home with his under-the-thumb father and overbearing mother in the sitcom Sorry. His mother refuses to accept he is forty-six, and smothers Timothy hopelessly as if he were still a child, despite all his attempts to escape. (She gives Timothy's sister very short shrift, in comparison). Also, witness Hyacinth Bucket's attitude to her rather fey son in Keeping Up Appearances.
- There's the mother (Doug's) in The King of Queens, who deviates between this and lying all the time. Deacon's mother-in-law is also overbearing and relentless in her criticisms.
- George and Jerry's moms from Seinfeld.
- Fran's mother from The Nanny is an example of the mother-daughter relationship, with the running joke of her badgering Fran to get married and have kids.
- Everybody Loves Raymond
- Marie Barone is a master in the art of using food as an emotional manipulation tool. Seriously, this trope could've easily been named The Marie.
- Deborah does act just as bad as Marie though. In one story arc she becomes insecure that the kids are having fun with a very good babysitter, and sacks her purely out of jealousy. A long arc across the series shows she is growing, slowly and steadily, into an even worse version of Marie, as she proves to be just as passive-aggressive and selfish and, unlike Marie, openly abusive.
- Malcolm in the Middle:
'When I pick you a wife, I'll let her give you your precious space.'
- Lois treats Malcolm (and only Malcolm, much to his frustration) this way. Her attempts to help him reach his full potential run the gamut from embarrassing (see "Malcolm Visits College") to insane (see the quote below):
- Dabney's mother is absolutely horrible. She's conditioned him to be outside of her shower with a towel ready for when she comes out. A lot of their dialogue really cranks up the creepiness-factor, with all of the unresolved sexual tension it sometimes seems they have.
- Stevie's mom. "Stevie! Stevie! Stevie! Stevie! Stevie! Stevie!!"
- Carl Winslow of Family Matters accuses Harriet of being like this, which she shoots down with, "Take a long look at me. And a long look at you. Now, which of us looks more likely to smother somebody?"
- Al's mom on Home Improvement is said to be one, though she never appears onscreen.
- An episode of My So-Called Life has the mother-daughter variant, where Patty is competing with her mother throughout.
- Freddie's mom on iCarly. She entirely subverted the type with her eager approval of the first girl to show interest in him...and then whipsawed back to type by saying "..this may never happen again!". He was in eighth grade when this all happened.
- One episode of The Twilight Zone is about a pair of newlyweds who initially plan on selling the husband's old house where he used to live with his mother. However, when they go back to give the house a last check-over, the wife discovers that the mother's spirit is so strong that the house is being gradually transported back to the time of her husband's childhood. At the end, the mother's ghost appears and tells the wife that it's her son who's unwilling to let go... and he reverts back to the form of a child and tells her to get out. Takes jilting to a whole new level!
- Law & Order: Shows up frequently. In the flagship series, they're usually the parent of the perp (and occasional accomplice). In SVU, they're 50/50 perp's mother/victim's mother.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent actually had an episode titled "Smother", who killed her son's pregnant fiancée.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
- One episode of SVU from Season 2 had Margot Kidder star as the Smother to Chad Lowe's unbalanced son. Turns out that not only was she too controlling, she turned the relationship sexual which would have been bad enough, except that Chad Lowe's character was a bit too unbalanced and killed her, then stayed in bed with her very bloodied corpse.
- In another episode in Season 5 an overprotective mother who has convinced his older son to kill his younger brother, because she doesn't want them to go into foster care. She claims that she was protecting them, and considers foster care hellish, but wants nothing more than to control their lives.
- Olivia's mother doesn't take it to homicidal levels, but she's pretty awful too, being an abusive alcoholic. Olivia once recounted an incident when she wanted to leave home and move in with her boyfriend — her mother flipped out and attacked Olivia while screaming that no one else could have her.
- In Season 12, Episode 1, the little girl sends an IM referring to her "smother" explicitly, it is later revealed that her mother and father had lost another little girl 10 years ago and had adopted this one to look, dress, and act just like her, going so far as to get her a nose job and dye her hair
- Stephanie Forrester on The Bold and the Beautiful, though only with Ridge, her eldest son. Her smothering affection and desire to control his life has lead to numerous characters suggesting that she's actually in love with her own son. At one point she went as far as to frame Ridge's paternal half brother for a murder Ridge committed - and justifying it.
- Ted the lawyer from. Many, many times he would be overheard giving lovey-dovey 'I miss you sweetums' talk over the phone. Sounds like he finally found a girl, huh? Nope. It's his MOM. Other dialogue suggests much wrong-ness, like how her feet are cold.
- J.D.'s mother praised him so much that he still thinks she was the perfect woman.
- The Big Bang Theory:
- Howard Wolowitz's mom seems to genuinely believe that he's still literally a child; she refers to his job as "school" and when he takes the day off, she asks if she should have someone bring him his homework. Then again, she does know exactly how old he is, as evidenced when she tells Howard that he's almost 30-years-old after his remarks about leaving the nest. It's more that she insists on treating him like a child than her actually believing he still is one.
Amy: Wait, did she die or did you kill her?
- In Howard's case, he allows his mother to do this (despite how much it aggravates him sometimes), his father walked out on him and his mom when Howard was just a kid, so Howard decided to always be "her little boy" so she wouldn't feel worthless.
- When the group are discussing how their lives would be if they hadn't met Sheldon, Howard imagines himself living alone and caring for his mother's corpse, a la Norman Bates.
Howard: Meh, to-may-to, to-mah-to, the important thing is she's dead.
- Bernadette's mother too, which is how she and Howard initially connect during their first date.
- Amy's mother as well, she apparently used to lock her in a "sin closet" as a child. When Amy gets her ears pierced as an adult, she makes Amy sit in Penny's closet.
- Howard Wolowitz's mom seems to genuinely believe that he's still literally a child; she refers to his job as "school" and when he takes the day off, she asks if she should have someone bring him his homework. Then again, she does know exactly how old he is, as evidenced when she tells Howard that he's almost 30-years-old after his remarks about leaving the nest. It's more that she insists on treating him like a child than her actually believing he still is one.
- Rhoda's mother Ida, on The Mary Tyler Moore Show (and later Rhoda).
- Mrs. B on Mommas Boys; when asked to select between two women for her son Jojo to have a final date with, she refused to select either, forcing Jojo to take his mother on the final date.
- Donna's mum in Doctor Who. Jackie Tyler could be a bit like this as well, but she was nothing compared to Sylvia Noble, who wanted her to apply for a job she didn't want to improve her chances of getting married, assumed she was playing a silly trick when she disappeared from her wedding, and kept putting her down while she was trying to put her life back together. The season finale, though, made it quite clear that she really did care for Donna.
- Becoming a sociopathic killer? Blame being raised by your smothering (adoptive)(?) mother. It's what Sylar realized in Heroes.
- Timothy's mother from Soap. When he left the priesthood to marry Corinne, she got extremely upset and attempted to murder Corinne, who she labeled as a whore (Corinne did sleep around a lot, so there's some justification). Later she curses their wedding and eventually has a heart attack on their wedding night.
- Eric Forman's mother, Kitty, in That '70s Show. She went into a depression after learning her son had sex.
- In That's So Raven, Victor Baxter, the father of Raven's family, is like a male version of this. He repeatedly signs himself and Cory up for father-son whatever classes, which normally turn out bad. He also once opened up a mobile restaurant called "Baxter and Son" because he thought it was what Cory wanted. He apparently forgot that it was HIM that put up the sign.
- Eli's deceased mother (to some extent) in Ghost Whisperer. Whatever her behavior was like in life it seem to have amped up since she's discovered her son can communicate with the dead.
- Debbie Novotny of Queer as Folk behaved like this not only to her son Michael, but to her son's best friend Brian, and her own younger brother Vic. Come to think of it, she did this to the entire population of Liberty Avenue. Interestingly, Brian's own mother Joanie is the exact opposite of this and coupled with Brian's father being an abusive alcoholic, it's implied that the only reason Brian didn't turn out more screwed up than he did is because Debbie cared for him when he was a teenager.
- Degrassi brings us Mrs. Torres, mother to Drew and Adam Torres. She is the representative of the school board, but those duties come after running Drew's life and lamenting Adam's choices. Well, that's on a nice day, on a mean day she uses the school board's power to help control Drew's life and lament Adam's choices.
- Erica Kane of All My Children could sometimes be smothering and overbearing with her daughters Bianca, Kendall, and later her son, Josh.
- Sex and the City's Bunny, mother of Charlotte's first husband Trey. To the point where she saw nothing wrong with barging into their bedroom in the middle of the night to rub Vick's on his chest (he had a cold), or in the morning to wake him up as though he were ten years old instead of thirty-something (gets even worse when you realize that she had to get out of her own bed, leave her place and drive over to their place to do this). Not until she walks in on them having sex does it finally dawn on her how out of line her behavior is.
- Characters played by Kyle MacLachlan seem to attract these moms. Orson Hodges's "crazy mother" Gloria from Desperate Housewives was both this and an Evil Matriarch, completely obsessed with controlling her son's life: she guilt-trips him with his father's suicide (despite the fact that she killed him) ever since he was a teenager, supports Orson's Yandere ex-wife Alma to the point of killing his mistress Monique, and endlessly interferes with his and Bree's married life, especially by telling Bree about Monique specifically to plant doubts in her heart about him, helping Alma rape Orson if it'll mean she can bear his child, and locking Alma away when she gives up and trying to kill Bree herself..
- The Swedish sitcom Solsidan has an example of this. The main character Alexander Lövström buys his mothers' house in the first episode and then she just won't let go leading his pregnant girlfriend Anna to become very annoyed at Alexander for not telling her off. She keeps doing this for the entire series at the moment of this edit. This may change if more seasons are produced.
- Since Greg Sanders was an only child, his mother became so overprotective she never let him play sports in high school and once took him to the ER for a bloody nose. After he was savagely beaten trying to stop a crime, he was worried at how she would react considering he never told her he transferred from the lab to field work.
- Ruthless attorney Diana Chase from season 6 episode "Rashomama". Basically, the woman was a rabid pit bull in human skin who terrorized her daughter-in-law to be and everyone else, with the exception of her son Adam, whom she doted on. The son in question thinks she's wonderful. Everybody else is scared shitless of her.
- This was a running gag with one of Sally Rogers' recurring dates, Herman Glimpshire, on The Dick Van Dyke Show.
- Doc Martin: After being left virtually penniless Martin's mother, in series six, moves to Portwenn intent on invoking this trope.
- The Goldbergs actually uses the term "smother" for Beverly Goldberg.
- Veronica Harrington in The Haves And The Have Nots.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: The Mrs. Niggerbaiter sketch in which Cleese plays an adult man who is Minister of Overseas Development, but is still treated like a baby by both his mother and her friend, Mrs. Niggerbaiter. Terry Gilliam commented that the sketch was a satire of many mothers' tendencies to keep belittling their offspring, even when they're already adults.
- Samson En Gert: Octaaf who is constantly belittled and domineered by his mother. She claims everything he does right is from her side of the family, while everything he does wrong is from his father's side of the family.
- Van Kooten En De Bie: Mother and son Van Putten. Van Putten is a neurotic 40 year old man who, to his frustration, still lives with his mother.
- One of these named Barbara shows up in 1000 Ways to Die. She's shown whining at her daughter-in-law Sabrina because she cooks too many vegetables, then slapping her in the middle of the discussion and almost getting gutted by the pissed-off Sabrina's cooking knife. Sabrina storms out, Barbara tries to get some pizza from an over-full refrigerator... and the fridge falls on her, crushing the Asshole Victim to death. The title of the sketch? "Smother In-Law".
- In Falling Water, Tess' mother thoroughly documented every supposed neurosis she had growing up, which may go a long way toward explaining how she ended up in a mental hospital for a time.
- Played for Laughs with Andy Summers's dissonant "Mother," from Synchronicity by The Police. The narrator goes over-the-top insane from his mother's constant phone calls and from every girl he dates ending up becoming his mother, which could mean either that his mother insists on chaperoning all his dates, that she forbids him to date other women at all, or that his Mommy Issues lead him to date only women who resemble her.
- Victoria Wood's song "Reincarnation" has this:
I want to be Eileen Gumm,
Who calls herself "just a mum".
I want to have three big lads,
And a husband that Ive driven nuts.
I'll struggle and sacrifice,
To make sure they have things nice.
I'll give them such good advice,
They’ll absolutely hate my guts.
- The Blue Öyster Cult's portrayal of Joan Crawford (who has Risen From The Grave to spend her afterlife smothering daughter Christina). Mommy is indeed home...
- Pink Floyd's The Wall:
- Mother, who has a song devoted to her and this kind of thing.
Mama's gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama won't let anyone dirty get through.
Mama's gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you've been.
Mama's gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooooh babe. Ooooh babe.
Ooh babe, you'll always be baby to me.
- Taken to a frightening degree in "The Trial" when you consider the double meaning of the line "Why'd he ever have to leave me?"
- And "OF COURSE Momma's gonna help you build your wall!"
Pink: Mother, did it have to be so... high?
- Mother, who has a song devoted to her and this kind of thing.
- The Queen in The Decemberists' "The Hazards of Love" tries to have her adopted son William's girlfriend Margaret raped and murdered to prevent her from stealing him. Which ends up being a major driving force in his decision to sacrifice his own life to save Margaret. Mothers beware.
- The mother from The Who's Tommy can be interpreted as one. Man, those rock stars have mommy issues!
- Advanced Dungeons & Dragons has, as one of the many magic items, a parody of its Rug of Smothering called a Rug of Mothering, which behaves like this trope.
- The Qedeshah from Vampire: The Requiem, an all female Bloodline that incorporates the scariest aspects of motherhood.
- I always thought that they were sweet old vampire ladies.
- To various degrees, members of the Circle of The Crone are like this. They celebrate their "mother of monsters" nature, and even possesses a ritual that allows a vampire to give birth. The details... aren't for the faint of the heart. Ironically, the Qedeshahs are not part of the Crones.
- There's also the Melissidae, who cast themselves as 'mother of their hive' (one example given is perfect housewife matriarch of the perfect nuclear family), but who use their psychic power to smother the individuality out of their 'children' to satisfy their 'mother knows best' need for control. They're not usually Acolytes either, strangely.
- The Lunar Exalted get various Limit Breaks themed around certain animals. One Compassion-based Limit Break, The Curse of the Mother Hen, means that the Lunar in question will spend at least the next day making sure his companions are all well taken care of. The book illustrates this with Strength-of-Many (a bull-totem Lunar) in war form trying to stuff porridge down a guy's throat.
- Also a defining quality of the Yozi Kimbery. Her most well known jouten (an ocean) was based around the symbolism of literally drowning people in her affection. She constantly breeds all manner of creatures that she'll either love obsessively or hate for not returning her affections to the degree that she considers suitable. This also tends to be rather cyclic; it's implied that Kimbery births and loves purely for the sake of having a reason to hate and kill the things she creates that cannot satisfy her desires.
- A particularly comprehensive fan interpretation of the maybe-Yozi Cytherea portrays her this way.
- The Glass Menagerie has Amanda Wingfield, a Beloved Smother to her son (she won't let him become a poet and complains about his choice of reading material) and her daughter (she ends up flirting with the young man her daughter likes, even after she invited him to dinner with the express hope that he would fall for and eventually marry the daughter). She's not entirely villainous, though: part of the reason she's so controlling is because the family is desperately poor and she worries that her Shrinking Violet daughter, who is mildly disabled, will never find a job or a husband. Amanda is also a Fallen Princess, having been a stereotypical Southern Belle in her glory days; when the play begins she's reduced to calling the fire escape "the veranda".
- Madame Rosepettle in Arthur Kopit's play Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You In The Closet And I'm Feelin' So Sad is a completely over-the-top Large Ham version of this.
- The Witch in Into the Woods, who keeps her (forcibly-adopted) daughter Rapunzel locked in a tower in the depths of the forest... to keep her safe and "shielded from the world".
- Mae Peterson in Bye Bye Birdie:
"So, it's come at last. At last it's come, the day I knew would come at last has come, at last. My sonny-boy doesn't need me any longer."
- and it only gets more over-the-top from there.
"Fancy funerals are for rich people. I don't want you to spend a cent. Just wait til Mother's Day, wrap me in a flag, and dump me in the river."
- Gypsy, along with the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee that it is based on, exemplifies this one.
- In Once Upon a Mattress, Queen Aggravain tells her son she wants him to get married, but only to a real princess, and she keeps creating impossible tests for the princesses who want to marry her son so he never has to leave. The King can hardly argue with her, as he can't speak.
- Lady Bracknell from Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest.
- One of the main plot points of Leonard Gershe's Butterflies Are Free, in which the mother (played brilliantly by Eileen Heckart, both on stage and in the 1972 film adaptation, for which she won the Oscar) fights desperately against her blind twenty-something son's desire for independence after he moves out. It all works out okay.
- She might be the eldest sister instead of the mother, but Lady of War Fiora from Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword shows some Smother traits in her supports with her little sister, Shrinking Violet Florina, whom she had to raise.
Florina: Thanks, Fiora. But...I... I have to do it my way. You can handle it out there alone, right? Well I need to make sure that I can, too.Fiora: Oh... But I worry about you. When we were in training, you used to get so scared...Florina: Yeah, but I'm fine now.Fiora: Really? But the Caelin Knights are all men, aren't they? I just think of you, all timid and scared among them... So, Florina... You really don't mind it? Didn't they give you a hard time for being a woman? Now if they did, I want you to let me know. Because I will tell them a thing or two...Florina: I-I'm fine. Lady Lyndis took good care of me... And everyone was really nice...Fiora: Oh? Well, I still worry.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Brady criticises his mother Maribelle for having been this. It's less because he hates her (in fact he adores his mom), and more because he wants to be the one protecting her instead since he comes from a Bad Future where she died and he couldn't save her
"The you from the future smothered me, to be perfectly honest. You’d pack lunches for me, hold my hand while walkin’ up stairs... You were so busy doing the heavy lifting for me that I turned into a total wimp! Ya wouldn’t even let me fend for myself in the end. So next time, lemme protect YOU!"
- The leader of the fighter guild in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is seen as this by the guild, but not without good reason, one of her sons was killed in action and her last son (who isn't actually that good a fighter) is killed later.
- Emile from Theresia: Dear Emile is a particularly horrifying example; she forbids her daughter Leanne from talking to anyone or leaving the church she's staying at. When a boy named Sacha tries to talk to her, Emile immediately tries to kill him...and later actually does when Sacha attempts to escape with Leanne.
- Borderlands 2: Ellie seems to view Moxxi as one of these. Given how horrible life on Pandora can be, whether or not Moxxi was being too overprotective is up in the air.
- Ellie seems quite capable of taking care of herself. They also butt heads more on Ellie dismissing Moxxi's demands that she lose weight and gussy up. Ellie, however, seems to have no problems with her body image and claims to have plenty of male admirers. (One of which being...Scooter)
- The computer mother of Broken Age still treats 14-year-old Shay like a toddler, appears as an omnipresent glowing face that follows Shay almost everywhere, covers the entire ship in yarn and plushies, and keeps Shay on a strict schedule of fake "adventures" that he can't hurt himself in and has to repeat ad infinitum. Although as she seems to be nothing more than a sophisticated program designed to look after young children it's not really her fault, too bad she's really a human being who just acts like that.
- This is Haruka's Freudian Excuse in Senran Kagura. Due of her father not being home most of the time, her mother kept Haruka housebound, treating her as little more than a doll she could adore. Even after Haruka escaped to her Shinobi training, she carries a lot of resentment and personality issues thanks to it.
- Toriel of Undertale quickly becomes the adoptive version of this as soon as the player meets her. Along with being very kind, she marks the switches to press, tells you to let her resolve your battles, and holds your hand through a harmless spike maze just to make sure you aren't hurt. She also dodges the question of how to leave the Underground, and will refuse to let you anywhere near the exit of the Ruins until your demands to leave have her decide to block it off permanently. This behavior stems from losing her first two children in the same day years earlier. It also stems from how Toriel had encountered six other children that also met her in the same way as the player character and watching them leave her to escape the underground, only to be killed by Asgore and/or his soldiers.
- Madame Montrois from Paris. Who, despite being six thousand miles away from a son and daughter who have emigrated to America largely to escape, still manages to hover over Mona and Pierre in faraway L.A. Mona's life particularly is blighted in C'est la Vie.
- The Witch in No Rest for the Wicked wanted to keep her children so safe that she killed and ate them, to keep them safe inside. Then she started to kidnap children under the delusion that they were hers and had sneaked off somehow. When the heroes are defeating her, she begs for mercy because I have children!.
- In one Chopping Block strip, Butch offered his mother a pillow with "Happy Smother Day" written on it. His relationship with her is mostly a parody of Psycho, with Norman's timid obedience replaced with not-giving-a-crap.
It was midnight: An hour past curfew. Butch knew he was going to catch hell from Mother when he got home. You'd think fourteen years of being a mummified corpse hidden away in the attack would have shut the bitch up.
- Hazel Green from College Roomies from Hell!!!, Mike and Blue's mother, complements this trope with plans, a goon hit squad, torture, hypnotic programming, and explosive implants. Unsurprisingly, she's a major Big Bad in the comic.
- This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip.
- Emily's mother in Misfile drove Emily to overachieve so that she would be accepted at Harvard, something that Emily's birth when she was 17 had denied her.
- Off-White: Jera towards Isa.
- Ursula's parents in Precocious, who basically raised her in an opaque, home-schooled bubble, and are still obsessive helicopter parents.
- Alice's mentor Rougina in Alice and the Nightmare displays all the sings of a manipulative parent and seemingly controls every aspect of her protege's life. It's possible that the mirror she gives Alice as a gift enables her to see everything Alice does.
- Another mother-daughter variant — the main character's mother in Quarterlife.
- Zaboo's mom in The Guild. She breast fed him till he was eleven, made him go with her into the ladies' room until he was fifteen, and still gives him baths. You know I'm not kidding.
- Demeter to Persephone in Thalia's Musings. Persephone rebelled by eloping with Hades, to whom she is now Happily Married. But she still spends half the year with Demeter anyway.
- The Nostalgia Critic's abusive mother has made him think she's his world. And while his twin Ask That Guy with the Glasses fantasizes about killing her regularly, he still calls out for her when his usual music doesn't play and freaks him out.
- Ultra Fast Pony portrays Twilight Sparkle as a somewhat delusional wannabe mother towards Spike. She calls him "my daughter" even though Spike is a male (and a dragon at that). It's implied that she even had Spike castrated. In the episode "For Glorious Mother Equestria", Spike starts going through the dragon equivalent of puberty, Twilight tells him to "stop obeying the laws of nature".
Twilight: Sorry, Applejack, but Spike's gone crazy! And by crazy I mean he's acting normal for a dragon, but crazy for a pony. Which he should be.
- Sarah Bishop in Dino Attack RPG is somewhat understandably concerned about her daughter being involved with an apocalyptic battle against mutant dinosaurs, but to say she's very protective of Kate would be a major understatement.
- In Julius Jr., Diamondbeard's mother. She keeps getting in his way, and seems to be able to tell what he's up to despite almost always being on the ship.
- Agnes Skinner in The Simpsons, the Trope Namer. She shares an unhealthy relationship with his son which often borders on psychosis. When Seymour was out of the house, Agnes phoned him regularly demanding to be taken out of the bath, shielded from the glare of car lights on the street, and other such petty requests.
- Cosmo's mother in The Fairly OddParents. She eventually falls in love with Wanda's father because they both hate the people their children married. Their plans to 'get' each other's kids cause frustration (they love their respective kids) and admiration (they like each other's evil).
- American Dad!: Francine in the episode Iced Iced Babies.
- Todd from Code Monkeys. Recently, it's become a full-blown Oedipus Complex (as he has implied and outright stated that he is literally having sex with his own mother).
- Gazpacho's mother from Chowder, even though we never see her onscreen. Gazpacho always complains about her though- albeit cautiously, since she might hear him.
- Morgan La Fey towards her son Mordred in Justice League, especially after he breaks the eternal youth spell. As if the Brother-Sister Incest which lead to his birth hadn't been bad enough.
- Myra in regards to the titular Venture Bros. Nothing says motherly love like tying up a pair of pubescent boys and shoving your breasts in their face, screaming "LET MOMMY LOVE YOU". After her first appearance, it is left somewhat ambiguous whether she is really the boys' mother. When she reappears three seasons later, her smotherhood has run rampant through the asylum where she is interned, with more or less the entire population (including some guards) dedicated to her as self-proclaimed "Momma's Boys". In the end, she seems to reveal definitively that she is not the Ventures' true mother, but it hardly matters at that point.
Dr. Entmann: Jonas thought the survivors of a nuclear holocaust might be too distraught to function as a society underground, so he wanted to pump small amounts of mood-enhancing drugs into the ventilation system. And M.U.T.H.E.R., this bitch, she didn't agree.
- "Colonel Bud Manstrong, listen to your mother!". He's clearly somewhere in his forties, but his mother is very much controlling his life. Bonus points for the episode she appears in being a parody of The Manchurian Candidate, with the movie being mentioned by name.
- In "What Goes Down Must Come Up", the Smother is an A.I. named M.U.T.H.E.R., and the smothering is more literal than usual. Jonas Venture created her to help run his new fallout shelter, but they disagreed about "parenting issues".
Brock: What'd she do?
Dr. Entmann: Well, you know when your parents catch you smoking, they make you smoke the whole freaking pack as punishment...
- Dr. Barber of The Marvelous Misadventuresof Flapjack has a terrifying relationship with his tiny, unseen mother who lives in his dresser drawer.
- An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes had a bird who had been held hostage by Lucius returned to his mother...who immediately ran right back into Lucius' grip when her mother proved way to annoying to deal with.
- In an episode of King of the Hill "Lucky's" sister Myrna was like this she was very strict and disciplinary to her children she wouldn't let them watch tv or have sugar and they were very timid and jumpy, upon seeing their behavior Bobby exclaimed "Those boys ain't right!".
- Early seasons of South Park did this a lot with Shiela Broflovski in a parody of this trope along with plenty of Jewish stereoypes. This was made a major plot point in The Movie.
- Archer. Picture Lucille Bluth above if she were not only your mother, but your spy-master as well.
- Stewart's mother from Beavis and Butt-Head, although she means well she is very overprotective of him and treats him as if he were a five year old even though he's around 12.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In the episode "Sleep Spells", Marco psychoanalyzes Princess Star to try and figure out why she's casting spells in her sleep, and fails miserably until he holds up a Rorschach ink blot card with a single dot, at which Star gasps.
Star: "That reminds me of my overbearing mother suffocating me with all the duties of becoming a queen for the rest of my life!"Marco: "I think we may have found the root of your problem. You have mother issues!"Star: "Yay, I have mother issues!"Marco: "No, that's bad!"Star: "Aww, I have mother issues."Marco: "It's okay, Star. Identifying the problem is the first step to recovery."Star (with stars in her eyes): "Recovery!"
- Steven Universe has Connie's mother, Dr. Priyanka Maheswaran. Controlling to an arguably abusive extent, forbidding her from watching a medical television show for being unrealistic and coming down very hard on her when she learns Connie lied to her about Steven's family. She controls Connie's day down to the last hour and minute and seems to take pride in knowing exactly what Connie is doing every minute of the day (including snooping on Connie's internet usage). Connie reacts in a very common way children react to controlling parents - she locks her mother out of the loop and is terrified of her mother finding out the truth.