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My Beloved Smother

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(Bart Simpson sees Principal Skinner in the waiting room of a psychiatrist's office)
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!

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 feature 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 usually has no siblings and more often than not is born late in their mother's life. Bonus points if the Beloved Smother has had trouble getting pregnant or if the child themself 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. Sigmund Freud, who worked with Jung, believed that mothers were a common source of psychological complexes. In contemporary psychology, the behavior of the Smother is consistent with parent-child codependency, a trait of Borderline Personality Disorder. note 

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. Often overlaps with Obnoxious Entitled Housewife if the mom constantly makes demands in the name of her child. May lead to Calling the Old Man Out or an Anti-Smother Love Talk. If the mom is not just controlling but a straight-up villain using their son as a pawn, see Villainous Mother-Son Duo.

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  • A 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 of places and makes a lot of suggestions. She also seems to only be able to communicate in run-on sentences. In the end, you discover that the commercial is an advertisement for Taco Bell's "Smother Burrito".

    Anime & Manga 
  • 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's also the one who styled his hair the way it is because she wanted a girl, one she could mold in her own image. 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. At any moment in which Nagisa so much as tries to stand up for himself, Hiromi flies into a psychotic rage, shrieking at a high volume, pitch, and speed. At one point, she nearly burns down the school building her son goes to. For added torture, there is a scene of her grabbing Nagisa's hair and violently yanking his head back and forth from the other side of a dinner table, no doubt unleashing hell on his scalp. Unlike other smothers, she eventually realises that she's wrong and stops doing this.
  • Attack No. 1: Kyoko and her brother loved tennis, but their mom hates and forbade sports because, in her opinion, such activities are dangerous and would be bad for her children's academic grades, so she's at first very disappointed when her daughter joins Fujimi Highschool's volleyball team.
  • Attack on Titan gives us two distinct flavors of this trope.
    • Jean turns out to have a mother that doted on him as a child, and now horribly embarrasses him. She was first introduced in an omake involving her walking in on him while he was (maybe) having A Date with Rosie Palms. When his comrades hear her Affectionate Nickname for him, they tease him relentlessly.
    • A darker example is Reiner Braun's mother, Karina. An intensely bitter woman left to raise the product of her Secret Relationship alone, she raised them with her own fanatical beliefs and hopes to turn them into a Tyke Bomb for the military will grant her access to a better life. She is very much a carrot-and-stick parent, alternating between praising her "war hero" child and viciously glaring daggers at them when they fail to convincingly parrot things that match her twisted ideology.
  • In a Case Closed 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.
  • Mamako from Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? is an extreme case. Not only does she follow her son Masato into a fantasy game world, where she ends up being the strongest character in the game, but she insists on killing every monster her son's team encounters, which prevents Masato and his friends from leveling up.
  • Chi-Chi in Dragon Ball ends up like this to Gohan. She mellows out with Goten.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Meshou, Ritsu Sohma's mother is 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 for most of his childhood, 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 overcompensating to hide how she was terrified of him. Later, it's implied that Kyo's mother did genuinely love him, but she only managed to express it through being overprotective of him. For worse, she also was mentally/emotionally unstable (and it's all but spelled out that Kyo's Jerkass dad was to blame for it), and thus she ended up Driven to Suicide.
    • Yuki Sohma's mother is among the worst of the lot, seeing him and his status as the Rat as nothing but a means to boost her own wealth and social status. On one occasion, she flat-out tells Yuki to his face that he's nothing but her tool, so he doesn't get to have wishes or opinions of his own. At the parent/teacher conference, she casually says she already planned out Yuki's future without consulting him while not letting Yuki even voice out his opinion about it because "she knows what's best"; she's only stopped when Ayame pops in and tells her off until she Rage Quits.
    • Machi Kuragi's mother was much the same. She heaped all manner of pressure on Machi to be perfect, seeing her as nothing but a Trophy Child she could use to inherit her husband's fortune. When she had a son, she immediately cast Machi out and focused on her younger brother solely because as a boy, the baby has a better chance of being chosen as an heir than Machi.
  • Hokkaido Gals Are Super Adorable!: Tsubasa's mother tries to control every aspect of his life and behavior from birth. He starts getting away from this after he moves to Hokkaido, but he is ever fearful that he will be dragged back to Tokyo and be under her thumb again.
  • It is very apparent that Killua in Hunter × Hunter took the Hunter Exams because his mother is this, he is resentful of her to the point that he has tried or threatened to kill her.
  • Is Kichijoji the Only Place to Live? has a mother in Chapter 21 who basically takes over her daughter's search for a new home and tries to strongarm her out of choosing any that appeal to her. In the end, the daughter manages to stand up for herself and their relationship improves.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • In Sakura Quest, there's Chitose Oribe, a confectioner in the small town of Manoyama and her granddaughter Ririko's legal guardian. Chitose can be a bit strict with Ririko, and is initially unhappy with her working with the tourism board. That said, some of Ririko's friends notice that Chitose is somewhat more lenient with Ririko than people would expect, partly because she doesn't actually prevent Ririko from working with them. Chitose even once tells Ririko to pursue her dreams while she's still young before she gets old and gives up on them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Pokémon
  • 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.
  • The plot of Mom, Please Don't Come Adventuring with Me! centers around 15-year-old Ryuuji, who wishes to become independent from his overly protective and overly doting adoptive mother. Unfortunately for him, his mother is Karma Abyss, a nigh-omnipotent and omniscient dragon who will stop at absolutely nothing to keep her son at her side.

  • Jo Koy has a bit where he discusses his Filipino mother warning him, a grown man, about the dangers of "rupees" (roofies).

    Comic Books 
  • 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 child mother 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 Spider-Man 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 skill set. 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.
  • The Flash:
    • Mary West, mother of Wally West, was this during the early years of his superhero career until she was Put on a Bus. She would try to control her now-adult son, emotionally blackmail him into caring for her every need, abused his Justice League credentials to go shopping in Paris while needling any girl he brought home (not helped that Wally Likes Older Women so one of his first girlfriends is a decade his senior). Nowadays, Wally acknowledges that his mom was outright abusive in how she treated him, though she's seen as A Lighter Shade of Grey compared to his father, but its still telling that he considers Iris West, his aunt, to be his true mother.
    • Libby Lawrence, formerly Liberty Belle of the All-Star Squadron, became this towards her daughter, Jesse Chambers/Jesse Quick, after she retired from heroics herself. She needled her about giving up being a hero, repeatedly nudged her academic pursuits, constantly criticised her lack of dating, and micromanaged her work at Quickstart, despite Jesse being CEO, and would phone her up to needle her about her mistakes when she was out heroing. After a while, she mellowed out slightly and Jesse learnt to embrace her mom, though it took effort from Jesse's then-future husband Rick to make them fully patch things up.

    Comic Strips 
  • Jeremy's mom in Zits sometimes 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.
  • The later years of For Better or for Worse set up Deanna's mother, Mira, as this so she could be a foil to alleged "good mother" Elly. For her part, Elly wavered between this (For example, two different storylines had her literally screaming at her older children, one of whom was an adult, when they expressed interest in getting a motorcycle) and neglecting April when she got too big to be cute (The infamous ravine incident.).

     Eastern Animation 
  • The Cord: The Mother and the titular cord. For much of the short, she uses it like a leash, at first to keep him safe and out of trouble and but, later, to keep him close, even keeping him from having a relationship. Later on, this trope is deconstructed, when the Mother dies and, with her gone, the Son doesn't know what to do.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
    • Mark Russell has shades of this towards his daughter Madison, although he's still not quite as bad as in Godzilla vs. Kong (see below). He thinks she's still Just a Kid even though anyone without a parent's bias would know that Madison is way past that stage of her life after what she went through in MonsterVerse canon, and Mark borders on being overprotective when trying to shoot down her demand that she see the hybridized San and Vivienne Graham in person. Mark gets better later in the story though.
    • Downplayed with Thor, who displays a protective attitude towards Viv and San due to having somewhat latched onto Vivienne as a surrogate child and says You Are Not Ready when they're about to head out to battle an unknown enemy for the first time since their previous Metamorphosis, although after some arguing, Thor relents.
  • Kushina from As You Wish is written as one of these for her son, Naruto, up to and including: making him sleep in her bed every night since he was a baby, attending his classes at the academy with him, and tagging along on his first mission outside of Konoha.
  • 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.
  • Purple Days: In this A Song of Ice and Fire fanfiction, Cersei Lannister as per canon. Joffrey — who's evolved from the incompetent utter monstrosity he was in canon into The Wise Prince after more than a century in a "Groundhog Day" Loop — gives her a "Reason You Suck" Speech, lampshading just how much she coddled him, helping create the vile wretch that he was before his massive Character Development. She lashes out and slaps him; a morose Joff just comments she should have done that a long time before.
  • 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.
  • Deconstructed in Dealing with the Aftermath, where Molly Weasley knows she's coddling her children, Harry, and Hermione too much - but they remind her strongly of her brothers whose headstrong actions got them killed during the previous war. Her youngest son, along with her two surrogate children, get into life-threatening situations multiple times a year and she's terrified that one day their luck will run out.
  • In Harry Potter and the Quantum Leap Molly Weasley casts a charm which detects virginity on her children every time they come home from Hogwarts.
    • In fact, a common fan theory is that part of the reason why Molly's two eldest children took jobs over a thousand miles away from home was to get away from her.
  • Nobody Dies: Word of God literally calls the alternate version of Lilith of Neon Genesis Evangelion that appears on the story with this exact term — as in, she's an immortal Eldritch Abomination that is partially responsible for the creation of mankind and she's been nailed to a cross and stabbed with an ancestral weapon and placed in a vault half a mile underground so she will stop calling and asking if you've found a nice girlfriend yet.
  • While she isn't her mother, Satsuki, from The Outside, plays this role with Ryuuko, with her subtle domineering presence and her rules, the one especially strict with Ryuuko going outdoors. However, this seems to be played with, as she might have somewhat of a reason to act the way she does, as with her questionable health, her parents splitting, and her father dying, along with being unequipped to deal with the world, she's alone otherwise, so she overprotects and coddles Ryuuko and tries to raise her in accordance to what she perceives to be best to keep some stability. Of course, like most portrayals of this trope, this doesn't have a good effect on Ryuuko, as, Ryuuko is deprived of a normal upbringing because of it.
    • As we find out, from what's implied, their mother, Ragyo, was a downplayed and more justified portrayal (along with being something of a Doting Parent) as, because, Satsuki often sick and because she was the first baby she carried to term (according to an author's note), she would overprotect and didn't think to probably encourage her daughter out of her comfort zone. However, it's mentioned that she didn't mean to and laments that she didn't teach Satsuki "what to do".
  • The fan-made Steven Universe episode entitled "The Smothering" exists in an alternate universe where Steven is raised by Lapis, Jasper, and Peridot instead of Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl. In this continuity, Peridot acts like this to Steven to the point of taking his vitals when he's asleep and making him go to bed in the middle of the day after his first mission. Steven ends up Calling the Old Man Out (or in this case, woman), and Peridot agrees to give him more freedom.
  • SAO: Mother's Reconciliation: Kyouko, hands down. In chapter 14, Kouichirou freely admits to Asuna that the main reason he was away from home working all the time was to get away from their mother and her overbearing attitude and that the entire reason he bought a copy of SAO and a NerveGear to begin with was to find an escape.
  • Celestia's morally dubious actions in City of Guilds seem to come from her being like this to all of Equestria. She seems genuinely sad that the ponies who ended up in Ravnica have gone native, but that doesn't stop her from considering mindwiping and kidnapping them back, or in the case of Applejack and Rainbow Dash, killing them and lying to their friends. Feather theorises that the reason Celestia is doing this is to uphold the status quo.
  • In Rose Redemption AU, Rose acts as a more benevolent version of this, referring to Steven as her "baby" and holding him every chance she gets in an effort to make up for lost time.
  • Subverted in Amazing Fantasy. Inko dotes on her son Izuku but tries not to be overbearing while doing it. She quickly sees through his lies about where he's going at night, but decides to trust him and doesn't confront him about it until the night before the U.A. Entrance Exam. This is after she begins worrying about how his pseudo-celebrity status as the "Prowler Kid" would drag him into trouble.
  • In Warmth, Minamo's mother is upset that her nearly 30-year-old daughter hasn't found a husband yet. She patronizes Minamo as an immature Manchild because she isn't attached to anyone yet.
  • White Sheep (RWBY): Salem, the immortal Queen of the Grimm, is extremely protective of her son Jaune. She's like this with all of her children, but it's worse with Jaune. All of his sisters can leave the tower and explore human lands, while Jaune is constantly locked away for his "protection." This isn't all that dissimilar to what Salem's own father did to her thousands of years ago. It's no wonder Jaune ran away from home. While Jaune admits his reaction was childish, he still insists that he felt like he was backed into a corner and had no other choice because his mother wouldn't listen to him.
  • Pizzazz is one in Lasting Fame. She paid her son's landlord so that they'd evict her son, just cause she wanted him back home.
  • Arrow: Rebirth: Moira. After Oliver shows understandable anger and panic over Laurel's first kidnapping, her immediate reaction is to have him forcibly sent to a psychiatric facility. While she does later admit that this was an overreaction born out of her protectiveness of him, the fact that this was her first reaction does not speak well of her.
  • Mrs. Weasley definitely qualifies as this in The Meaning of One, though even Harry and Ginny have to admit that it's understandable given the situation (her youngest child and only daughter is unexpectedly whisked away to school a full year earlier than expected and is something even more intimate than married to a boy Mrs Weasley had never so much as met). A particular point of contention is that, due to the mechanics of their bond, Harry and Ginny must share a bed (it's nearly impossible for either of them to sleep without skin-to-skin contact with the other), something Mrs. Weasley does not handle at all well.
  • Downplayed with Louise towards her familiars in A Familiar Void. Her overprotectiveness is brought about by a combination of her lack of understanding of their abilities, and Bug’s tendency to get into trouble.
  • Lilith tends to be a touch...overprotective when it comes to her son, Nero, in The Silver Raven. When Nero was selected to fight Grom, she vehemently refused to let him fight, and after he managed to convince her, she made him wear several layers of enchanted armor (and by several, we mean enough to the point where he looked like, in Emira's words, "a giant ball of metal"). Nero even calls her smothering to Edric. Eda notes that she most likely inherited the trait from their own mom, Gwendolyn.

    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.
  • 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", which leads her to make a wish about "changing" her mother... and getting her and her brothers morphed into bears.
  • Turning Red has Mei's mother Ming, who is overprotective of her daughter to the point of confronting a teenaged convenience store clerk Mei had drawn some rather suggestive art of after assuming he was a "groomer", and sneaking onto the grounds of Mei's school and getting into an altercation with security. Much of the conflict in the movie comes from Mei realizing just how tired she is of her mother's strictness and perfectionism.

  • Isabel Kabra in The 39 Clues, to the point of threatening to KILL her kids if they won't do what she says.
  • Absolutely Truly: Lucas Winthrop's mother is very protective of him. She was first seen in the book showing up at his classroom to bring him an extra pair of mittens because she was concerned he would get cold.
  • Mandy's mother in Jacqueline Wilson's Bad Girls; Mandy was a "miracle baby" born in her mother's mid-forties, and her mother refuses to see her as a miracle non-baby, insisting on making her wear her hair in plaits and choosing childish dresses for her (as an eleven-year-old in the 1990s) and choosing her friends for her. At the climax, Mandy's father even suggests that Mandy would be better able to stand up for herself if her mother didn't keep babying her. Additionally, Mandy gets bullied at school due to her mother's babying.
  • 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'.
  • 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 Cat Who... Series: In book #16 (The Cat Who Came to Breakfast), Mrs. Appelhardt is the very controlling matriarch of her family, especially of her daughter Elizabeth.
  • 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 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.
  • Dancing Aztecs: Wally's mom is somewhat firm about keeping him in her sphere of influence. Even once he achieves financial independence he has a hard time imagining leaving.
  • 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.
  • 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 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 as 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.
  • Marinell's mother from The Faerie Queene is adamantly against her son falling in love and forces him to remain celibate. She has the excuse of acting on a prophecy, but in the end, her meddling leads to his death.
  • Mary Renault loved this trope. Olympias, the mother of Alexander the Great in Fire From Heaven, probably takes the cake.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Four Loves, this is one of the dangers of affection.
  • Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!: Vivy's mom has had this problem since Vivy was five, when she wandered off at the beach and hid under a boardwalk, then fell over and scraped her knees after she was found. Now when Vivy wants to take up baseball, her mom pressures her to play softball instead because she thinks it'll be more her speed. When she finally lets Vivy join an Apricot League team, she tries to interfere whenever anything goes even slightly wrong, and even bans Vivy from playing in anything other than practice games for over a month after Vivy is hit by a ball and gets a mild concussion.
  • One of the more heart-wrenching conversations in The Great Divorce is on this theme. The mother in question mourned her son to the point where she ignored her other children, her husband and God. George Macdonald suspects if the narrator listened to her conversation further, she would demand that her son come to hell so that she could have him.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Bria's mother was like this. She was constantly pushing her to make a "good match", no matter what Bria thought about it. Even after Bria found out that her fiancé had cheated and she dumped him, her mother insisted on her getting back together with him, and wasn't happy with her life choices generally, always belittling them. All this led to Bria having very low self-esteem, contributing to her running away to become a pilgrim on Ylesia (which, it turns out, is a scam for enslaving people).
  • Naturally enough for a Mama Bear, Molly Weasley from Harry Potter 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 (who she thought was simply attracted to Bill by his looks and glamorous job as a Curse-Breaker - magical Indiana Jones, basically) after the latter very firmly demonstrates after Bill's looks are mangled by Fenrir Greyback's vicious attack that she really does love him and doesn't give a fig about his looks. After that, the two get along quite well.
  • Eleanor's mother, and the rest of her godawful family, in Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.
  • Skeeter's mother in The Help constantly badgers her about her lack of a husband or even a boyfriend, her nontraditional interests and goals for women of the time, and her quirky looks.
  • Dorothy Parker's short story "I Live On Your Visits" is this trope in spades. The mother in this story is a bitter hard-drinking divorcee who delights in making her son feel guilty about having any kind of life without her or thinking kindly of his father's second wife.
  • 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.
  • It's Not the End of the World: Debbie's mom tells her daughter to wear several pairs of underpants when she goes ice skating so that she won't catch a kidney infection from sitting on the ice. Karen reflects that her friend's mother is overly concerned about diseases.
  • 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.
  • 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 Key to Charlotte, Charlotte's parents assume her Love Interest Zakaria only wants to take advantage of her and try hard to discourage their relationship. Charlotte is irritated by their overprotectiveness.
  • 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 (1977), 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, telling him it was what it would feel like if he caught a disease from a "nasty fucker" (a designation they both apparently apply to any female, including a nine-year-old girl!). She kept him from moving out of her home, keeping his room decorated like that of a child with clowns and ponies, and it was only with the help of the unaware Sheriff Bannerman that Dodd managed to get up the nerve to leave her long enough to attend police training. She uses her ill health as a weapon and guilt as a tool of manipulation.
    • Also, Wendy's mother in The Shining— so much, her own son would rather stay at The Overlook than at his grandma's place.
  • King Of The Bench: Steve's mom is a "turbo-hyper-worrywart" about every sports activity he takes part in because he's an only child.
  • 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.
  • Like a Fish Understands a Tree: George has Down syndrome. His mum believes he's too "special" to do various things he wants to do, like get a job and play video games that aren't made for little kids. At home she doesn't let him handle knives, and is shocked to learn that he's been taking cooking lessons at the recreational center and is very good at it. When he wants to move into an apartment with his girlfriend, she does whatever she can to prevent him.
  • The Long Ships: Åsa mothers Orm fairly vigorously, though this is quite understandable since she has lost three sons at that point, and her other surviving son is a bit of a Jerkass. This leaves Orm with a hypochondriac streak, and in the end leads him off on his first journey; he was denied permission to join his father and brother on their raid, and was abducted by other raiders when they were away.)
  • There is actually a book entitled My Beloved Smother. It's a mother-daughter case.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.)
  • Psycho. See film for the adaptation.
  • 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.
  • Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Was Not: In "The Adventure of the Sacrifice Stone", Lady Sarah has vowed that her son will never marry. When his son brings home a fiancée, she initially tries to drive her away with hostility and then attempts to buy her off. When this fails, she decides to murder her.
  • 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 breastfeeds 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' 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 ensured 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.
  • D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers is almost solely about Mrs. Morel giving her love completely, whether inappropriately or not, to her sons. Her close relationship with Paul affects his life in a very unhealthy way especially when it comes to women.
  • Caroline Compson in The Sound and the Fury is this to her son Jason.
  • In Summer in Orcus, Summer's mother never lets her do anything because she's terrified of anything happening. She's not allowed to go away to camp, she's not allowed to play on the front lawn in case somebody kidnaps her. On particularly bad days, her mother even worries about things like Summer drowning in the bath. This has a lot to do with why Summer is willing to go on a dangerous question to find her heart's desire.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Madame Raquin in Thérèse Raquin, though she doesn't really mean to be. But she babies Camille and rules over Thérèse.
  • 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.
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle: Deborah is so smothering and horrible that she's very nearly managed to break up her son's engagement. She treats his fiancee as basically a walking womb to provide the grandchildren, and her daughter only comes home when she absolutely has to. She writes an advice column in the newspaper that her own son has written to anonymously multiple times asking for advice as to how to deal with her...suffice it to say she's a hypocrite and suggests that a mother would politely back off if asked!
  • In Orange Clouds, Blue Sky, Skye's mom won't let Skye's autistic sister Starr do chores, even though she wants to help out. When Skye and Starr are staying on their relatives' farm, Starr helps out with the animals, which she enjoys, but Mom accuses the family of turning Starr into a slave.

  • 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 I've 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:
    • Pink's mother, who was very overprotective of him following the loss of his father during The War, gets a song dedicated to her called "Mother", which is about her overprotective and smothering nature, which would shape his relationships with women during the course of the album.
      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?" It's telling that during the film version of the trial, instead of just being part of the titular wall like the other two characters present, she's depicted as becoming the wall itself.
    • And "OF COURSE Momma's gonna help you build your wall!"
      Pink: Mother, did it need to be so... high?
  • 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 away. 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!
  • Mika has several songs about a mother giving unsolicited advice to her son and nagging him to be perfect, such as "Lollipop" (telling him to avoid love and relationships because they never end well), "Elle Me Dit" (asking why he's wasting his life), and "All She Wants" (wanting him to be straight and married with a perfect life).
  • The Vocaloid song "You're a Useless Child" combines this trope with Abusive Parents. The mother in the song repeatedly tells her child that he is worthless and useless while constantly reminding him that she is the only one who will ever love him and that he should stay with her forever. The child eventually kills himself, and the mother finally realizes what she has done to him, but it is too late.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Jacob's mother smothers him to abusive levels; dictating how Jacob's life should be, demanding he tell her everything that happens in his day, and meddling in his social life until he has none.
    • Emmanuel's mother wants to control every aspect of his life, most importantly his problems with his weight, which has ruined any sense of personal control that Emmanuel had.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 
  • 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.
  • 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 that 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".
    • Jack's Mother is no slouch in this department either.
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • In AI Dungeon 2 for whatever reason the protagonists' mother will often show up in any of the scenarios the AI generates, most frequently after the first major 'story beat' concludes. Even if the protagonists' parents, biological or otherwise, are stated to be dead. Depending on the story, she can end up being this.
  • In God of War (PS4), the goddess Freya made her son invulnerable to all threats, physical and magical, so that he would Feel No Pain. Too bad for him that this meant he could feel nothing else, and he went insane over it. When the player meets Freya, she fully admits that her desire to save her son was selfish, but also refuses to break the spell, even saying that the spell can't be broken to her son's face. Freya says that, in time, he'll come to thank her for it. When Kratos and Atreus figure out his weakness and kill him anyway, Freya swears eternal vengeance on Kratos and Atreus, even though it was a Mercy Kill and they did it to save her.
  • She might be the eldest sister instead of the mother, but Lady of War Fiora from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade 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' upstairs... 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!"
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has a variant: Flayn is smothered by her overprotective older brother Seteth. Seteth manages to avoid most of the Knight Templar Big Brother aspects, but their support conversations centre around him realizing he's upsetting his sister and learning to take a step back. In truth, Seteth is Flyan's father, more directly qualifying him for the Rare Male Example of this trope. He acts like this as shortly after losing his wife, his daughter had to hibernate for centuries to recover from terrible wounds. This hole in her historical knowledge and social skills makes her a Bad Liar about her real identity, further worrying him.
  • 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 to 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.
  • One of 47's targets in Hitman (2016), an Italian bioengineer named Silvio Caruso, was treated as The Unfavorite by his mother as a child until his father died and his older brothers ran away. She then latched on to Silvio and started psychologically manipulating his worldview to make him totally dependent on her, such as telling him his favourite spaghetti sauce was her own special recipe that only she could make when it was really just store bought canned sauce. Her most heinous act was to pay their pool boy to seduce his prom date and have sex with her, take pictures of them in the act and show them to Silvio while telling him that "Romantic love is fleeting. Only a mother's love endures." It's no wonder, then, that Silvio grew up to be an introverted, travel-phobic, gynophobic, insecure manchild. Mama Caruso suffered a Karmic Death when Silvio finally snapped and smothered her with a pillow.
  • Fyson the Rito merchant in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild really does love his mother, but he nonetheless finds her overbearing when it comes to trying to get him to help her run the family store. He jumps at the opportunity to open his own independent store in Tarrey Town.
  • Final Fantasy IV: The After Years: Sibling example. While Porom genuinely cares about Palom, she subjects him to a relentless barrage of scrutiny, criticism, and corporal punishment in her attempts to correct his misbehavior. As a result, he considers her overbearing and intrusive and complains that she acts more like his mother than his twin on several occasions.
  • Monster Seeking Monster features the Mother, who is randomly assigned one other player as her child and gains a heart for every night they don't get a date. Thus, the Mother is incentivized to actively sabotage her child's romantic prospects.
  • Friday Night Funkin': Mommy Mearest, while a bit less extreme than her husband, is still more than willing to screw with Boyfriend simply for dating her daughter. She’s perfectly fine with Daddy Dearest holding a Mall Santa at gunpoint while the two rematch Boyfriend at Christmas, and the two send him and Girlfriend on vacation with the hopes of him dying during it, which lead into the events of a yet to be released week, which itself is what leads into Week 7.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Cupid, you play as the deranged, disembodied voice of the "Mother" character, giving advice and dishing out verbal abuse on your possibly adopted daughter, Rosa. "Mother" is a complex character. Yes, she is abusive and toxic, but her main purpose is to save Rosa from becoming a dark creature that feeds on other people's love/sanity. In some endings, Rosa can fight back against the player's wishes, claiming her independence from "Mother's" commands.
  • Hidemi Yamagami of Season of the Sakura is this towards her son, Shuji, still insisting on do everything for him as if he were a little kid, when he's already 16 years old. When Shuji first comes home with his various love interest, she cries and says she doesn't want another to steal him away from her.

  • 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.
  • Chapter 19 of Furry Fight Chronicles has Muko calling out her older sister Saniko for being smothering. Deep down, Muko wants validation as a person and as an adult. However, Saniko treats her as a child because of her failures, preventing harmony between the sisters. She resolves to treat Muko better by having her move out of the house in order to learn independence.
  • 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 signs 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.
  • Nate's mother, Annie in The Back o' Beyond shows some signs of this.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Sigriður, Reynir's mother. She told Reynir that people who aren't The Immune aren't allowed to travel internationally just so he would stay home. At twenty, Reynir found out that he actually wasn't forbidden from travelling to other countries, decided to go on a trip and accidentally ended up spending a few weeks with a research crew working in a Plague Zombie infested area. When Reynir comes back from it alive and well, Sigriður's Anger Born of Worry comes out as her telling Reynir he wouldn't have gone on the trip if he loved her. Her reaction to finding out Reynir has magical powers is to get enthusiastic about how useful they are going to be back on the family farm. Reynir has a father, but he's mostly an accomplice of the treatment.
  • In A-gnosis' comics on Greek myth, Demeter is overbearingly protective of Persephone — not without valid reasons related to their Jerkass God relatives, but it leaves Persephone uncomfortable asking for her advice on actual problems. It's part of the Parents as People tension between them.
    Hekate: Give me one good reason why I shouldn't let [Demeter] know everything!
    Hades: Because it would result in Demeter being even more overprotective of Persephone, which would make Persephone unhappy and damage their relation?
    Hekate: [Beat] Damn. That was a good one.
  • #Blessed: Avusavia has a brief conversation with her family where her mother tries to butt into her life.

    Web Original 
  • Another mother-daughter variant — the main character's mother in Quarterlife.
  • Zaboo's mom in The Guild. She breastfed 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.
  • Mrs. Prestige in Anime Crimes Division is this combined with Fantasy Forbidding Mother. She attempts to mold her daughter Diesel to be a carbon copy of herself and looks at her Otaku interests with disdain, believing live-action TV to be superior. This lead to Diesel leaving her home for Neo Otaku City and she hoped to be accepted by the people there. Upon realizing that Diesel has no intention of following or relating to live-action TV culture and might possibly have feelings for her partner, Joe, she is not happy. It gets even worse when she is revealed to be the leader of TOXIC, and intends to convince her daughter to give up on being an Otaku and join her.
  • The SCP Foundation has two examples, each of whom is a mother who continues to try to control the lives of their daughters after the mother died:
    • With SCP-2190 the deceased mother will, once every two weeks, contact someone in desperate need of money and hire him to try to break up the marriage of her daughter and the daughter's husband.
    • With SCP-4925 if the daughter does anything to try to get some privacy in regards to her cellphone note  then eventually a new cell phone will manifest near her and ring, and more and more cellphones will continue to manifest until she answers one. Upon answering it the dead mother will berate her daughter for her recent life choices until the daughter gives in out of guilt.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, Jimmy creates a robot version of his mother when she goes on a trip to the spa. The robot acts normal at first, but it starts acting very different and starts doing things like making green slop for meals, forcing Jimmy to go to bed early, and refuses to let Jimmy or Hugh leave the house for any reason. The latter becomes so bad that the robot ties up Jimmy and Hugh when they try to leave.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Hector's mother controls her son's life to minuscule details to ensure he never feels any strong emotions, including keeping a desiccated hamster who she claims "Is just sleeping", censoring a comic book so it looks like a very happy and dull story or making him think incredibly boring jokes are funny (Why did the chicken cross the road? For a very good reason!). Unlike many of the examples of this page, it's not her son's interest she's acting out of: Hector is a massive Kaiju and if he gets overwhelmed by anything (like being called "boring") he can easily go on a city-wrecking rampage.
    • Richard's mother was shown to have been like this to him when he was young, having been overprotective of him to the point where he was afraid to do anything other than sitting on the couch and eat.
    • Nicole's mother wasn't much better. When she first appears in "The Choices", she's not only shown counting down the minutes that Nicole will supposedly graduate from college and marry a doctor, but she also berates Nicole for her straight-A report card... because there was an "F" in the space for gender ("Being a girl is not an excuse!"). This, combined with her husband's Hair-Trigger Temper, explains a lot of Nicole's personality traits. Thankfully, when Nicole finally sees them again in "The Parents", they've mellowed out a bit, allowing them to work on rebuilding their relationship with their daughter.
  • Archer. Picture Lucille Bluth above if she were not only your mother but your spymaster as well.
  • Atomic Puppet: Joey's mother Vivian, while a very sweet and loving woman, is overly worrisome about what her adolescent son does, despite also being completely oblivious to the fact that he's Atomic Puppet. She's much better than Mookie's mother though, who is very controlling of her 35-year-old supervillain son.
  • 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.
  • Linda Belcher from Bob's Burgers tends to lapse into this when trying to bond with her children. Her motives vary from child to child—she tries to bond with Louise because she's jealous that Louise has a stronger bond with Bob, and she tries to bond with Gene and Tina because of a nasty case of empty-nest syndrome. Her going overboard ends about as well as one would expect, with her attempts to bond almost always pushing her children further away. Fortunately, however, they usually make up by the end.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • The Dr. Zitbag's Transylvania Pet Shop episode "Double Trouble" shows Dr. Zitbag's mother to be overprotective and demanding. At the end of the episode, she disrupts the wedding between the Exorsisters, Zitbag, and a clone of Zitbag with the mind of a duck all because she's upset about her son getting married without telling her.
  • DuckTales (1987) features two examples of this trope:
    • Ma Beagle keeps her boys well under her thumb. The one time four of her boys rebel against her ("Beaglemania"), she frames them for robbery and ruins their singing career so as to get them back.
    • Mrs. Crackshell, Fenton Crackshell's television-addict mother, is very much the boss of their trailer home.
  • In DuckTales (2017), Donald is this to Huey, Dewey, and Louie (except when he's not).
  • 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).
  • 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 too annoying to deal with.
  • 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.
  • Morgan le Fay 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.
  • In King of the Hill Lucky's sister Myrna was shown to be very strict and disciplinary to her children. She wouldn't let them watch TV or have sugar and they were very timid and jumpy, and upon seeing their behavior Bobby exclaimed "Those kids ain't right!".
  • Clyde's fathers in The Loud House, especially his father Howard, were overprotective to the point of installing seatbelts on a couch. However, by the end of the episode "Snow Way Down", they learned to lighten up.
  • Dr. Barber of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has a terrifying relationship with his tiny, unseen mother who lives in his dresser drawer.
  • Agnes Skinner in The Simpsons, the Trope Namer. She shares an unhealthy relationship with her 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.
  • Early seasons of South Park did this a lot with Shiela Broflovski in a parody of this trope along with plenty of Jewish stereotypes. This was made a major plot point in The Movie.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In "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 inkblot 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!
    • While Star's relationship with Moon is a bit troublesome, the show does go and explain why. We learn that Moon lost her mother when she was barely older than Star, due to a villainous monster sabotaging mewman-monster peace talks. As such, she's forced into the position of Queen and with very few confidants or anyone she can trust (the first being River, the young man she would eventually marry.) She's forced to go to the Black Sheep of the family to learn a forbidden spell to end the war. However, the Chains Of Commanding forced her to be The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask. Her preparing Star is in the event something happens to her and her overprotective stance is out of the fear she may lose her daughter. Indeed, when it looked like she did lose Star, she just began breaking down in tears. Furthermore, Star is forced to step to become Queen when Moon disappears for some episodes and it's painfully clear she's missing her mother.
  • The Star Trek: Lower Decks episode "Where Pleasant Fountains Lie" gives us two examples as the A and B Plots:
    • The A Plot deals with Lt. Commander Andy Billups's mother, Queen Paolana of Hysperia, and her desire to get him back home so he can take over as king. Similar to Lwaxana Troi, she's been a pest to the Cerritos in her attempts, but unlike Lwaxana, she's more devious in her plans like faking her own death to force Andy to come back.
    • The B Plot reveals that Mariner has been treating Boimler like this, thinking he's just not ready to participate in more dangerous missions. When Agimus reveals this to Boimler, he gets pissed.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In a male example, Senator Hamato Xiono did everything for his son Kazuda when he was growing up, with the result being that Kaz got very frustrated due to his lack of independence and doesn't know how to do a lot of things.
  • Steven Universe:
    • 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 sneaks around behind her back and is terrified of her mother finding out the truth. At least until "Nightmare Hospital", in which after coming across the corrupted gems and finding out Connie had been dealing with all sorts of weird stuff since meeting Steven and the Gems, it dawns on her that she had been too overbearing and promises to loosen up as long as Connie won't hide important stuff from her.
    • Like Dr. Maheswaran, Barb Miller loves her daughter Sadie and wants the best for her. Unfortunately for the laid-back, easygoing Sadie, Barb's ambitions involve over-enthusiastically supporting, pushing into, and eventually completely taking over anything Sadie is remotely interested in, in hopes of Sadie excelling and becoming some kind of superstar. Barb also seems to enjoy buying stuffed animals and making lunches for Sadie, despite Sadie apparently having already graduated high school. The fact that Sadie doesn't eat the lunches and leaves the stuffed animals in a pile on her bedroom floor does not seem to have gotten through to Barb. It takes Sadie having a panic attack and lashing out at Barb after being stampeded into doing a stage act that would have wound up publicly humiliating Sadie to make Barb (and Steven) reconsider their position.
  • The Venture Bros.:
    • 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.
    • "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".
      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.
      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...


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Overprotective Mom, Overprotective Mother


Eda's Mom

Gwen Clawthorne arrives at Eda's home and wastes no time establishing what kind of mother she is.

How well does it match the trope?

4.47 (17 votes)

Example of:

Main / MyBelovedSmother

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