Post # 1
Hello fellow Bees! I am one of those lucky ladies that has a controlling and manipulative mother. Although I left the nest for a couple years for college, I ended up putting school on hold and moving home for personal/mental health reasons. I started working at a nursing home and that’s where I met my beloved SO!
He was working there while putting himself through school and now 3 1/2 years later we moved in together (yay!) and my mom is not very happy. She has hardly made a lukewarm effort to get to know him, never tries to include or welcome him to family events/holidays (although his family is constantly including me and inviting me to visit with him). My brothers, dad, best friends all think he’s great and we’re good together, so when I asked my mom why she doesn’t approve I was willing to hear why. All she could give me were superficial reasons about his weight (hello? Look at my avatar, we’re both overweight! And why does that matter?) or the fact that he’s from a “different culture” (both of my parents are from Ethiopia and he’s a black American).
Its just so disheartening that she won’t even try to accept and welcome him and be happy for me, and just makes underhanded insults and comments and zero effort to include him in anything. It’s like the 3.5 years he’s been in my life mean nothing. He’s not going anywhere, and we’re talking about marriage in the next couple of years (around the time I hopefully finish nursing school, but engagement very soon). So my question is, how do I deal with her? How can I make her get with the program and just be happy for me? Anyone else had to deal with a resistant and stubborn/judgmental family member?
Post # 2
My dad didn’t approve at first. It took such a long time for him to see that this was a big deal to me. We got to the point that i wasn’t even speaking about him around my dad and one day at of the blue he had a talk with me and said I see that he really means alot to you and if that’s who you want to be with than I’m going to accept it and be happy for you. It’s very frustrating I totally get what your going through. You wish you could bring him around with out all the remarks. Maybe have a talk with your mom and tell her that he’s the person you really love and are planning to be with. She might as well get use to having him around or she’ll just push you further away from her.
Post # 3
The thing I’ve learned from difficult family members is that nothing ever makes them “get with the program”. My husband and I have been periodically estranged from one such family member, and this person never changes. Everytime we reconcile, my husband and I vow to handle this person differently (ie. stick up for ourselves, not get pushed around or guilted, not allow anyone to be harsh or cruel) but it becomes evident pretty quickly that that person hasn’t changed or learned anything, and the abusive behaviour continues.
We both intend to get some therapy before our next reconciliation. We know now that the relative is never going to change, but we can protect ourselves from being hurt by this person again.
Post # 4
How awful! And her reasons are just ridiculous! Hopefully this is just a case of her struggling to ‘let you go’ and that ‘no man is good enough’ and that she will come around later when it finally sinks in. I agree with PP, you need to tell your mom that this is the man that you are marrying and going to be with for the rest of your life. This is your new family and that she has to accept that and welcome him in or she is the one causing the rift between the two of you, not you and your SO (which is probably what she is hoping for). It is all in her hands unfortunately and either she accepts the two of you, or she is pushing herself away.
Post # 5
Maybe it’s just not “real” to her since you’re “just” dating and not engaged or married yet. My mom was never very intersted in my relationships, not even an ex that I dated for almost 7 years. He was not invited to family get togethers or anything. None of my ex’s were when we were dating, and I didn’t think anything of it. After I got engaged to my husband, my mom was upset to find out how young he was and kept telling me she was ‘worried he is too immature and young’. I just ignored it and moved forward. Now that we’re married, he’s part of all the family events and everything. It’s like once we were engaged and married, then that’s when he became a real part of the family. You can’t make anyone do anything. Just keep doing what you’re doing for your own happiness. Either she’ll come around or she won’t, but that’s up to her.
Post # 6
AcousticHeart: Your first sentence made me laugh out loud at work! There are a lot of us out ther 😉 No specific advice but best of luck to you!!
Post # 7
MissNC: I’m sorry you went throught the same, but so glad he came around! There is hope!
anonybee0810: I would love to take that approach but my mom is pretty much the hub for all family Interactions. She’s like the godfather of the mob that is my family (my dads side too) and she is a meddler in everyone’s lives! So it’s difficult to bypass her opinions or avoid her. :/
KateA17: that’s definitely true, she is the one causing rifts all around her (she’s done this same thing to her siblings when they found partners) and she usually just has to accept it when they stop listening to her or asking her opinion. It’s a lot better now that I don’t live at home anymore, but I want us to be welcomed there as a unit, not just me and pretending he doesn’t exist.
pinkshoes: yeah that may be true. But she flat out told me that I’m not going to marry him. She caught a glimpse of my right hand ring (a diamond cluster that used to be hers) and clutched her chest the other day in a panic before realizing its her ring and not on my left hand *facepalm* So clearly she’s going to have a conniption when we actually get engaged.
Post # 8
- Wedding: April 2014 - Morton Arboretum
I did not invite my mother to the wedding. I made it clear that we only wanted people who were happy for us ans that supported us to be there. So maybe don’t invite her if she does not approve.
Post # 9
You can’t make her get with the program or be happy for you.
When it comes down to it, she doesn’t need to do or be either of those things. It would be great if she liked him, but the reality is that you’re going to do what you want with this relationship anyway. Her approval or disapproval means very little, based on what you say you intend to do.
I think the best way to deal with your mother when it comes to this issue is accept that she doesn’t like him and accept that she won’t be including him in things. Is it sad that this is the way things are going? Sure, but that’s just how it is right now. Things may change, they may not; either way, all you need to do is live your life and do what is in your best interest.
When it comes to dealing with her on a day-to-day basis, don’t let your relationship with your SO be up for discussion, because there’s nothing to discuss. Don’t argue with her about it, because there’s nothing to argue about. Let her be as stubborn and resistant about this as she wants to be — it’s not going to change anything. Stand by your relationship, have fun with his family, build your own family with him, and let the chips fall where they may when it comes to your mom.
Oh, and don’t try to involve her in the wedding if she acts the way she does now or is unsupportive of the relationship. Doing that will likely cause nothing but trouble, trouble that could last well after the wedding is over. It could also put stress in your relationship with your SO. Be careful with any involvement she has in the wedding and other important parts of life that involve your SO, like children.
Post # 10
thank you for your no BS approaches. It is really hard for me to stand up to her because for so long I’ve let her steamroller my life, but you’re absoltely right. She can either choose to accept him and us as a couple or she can find herself very distant from us.
i find myself arguing with her a lot and should really just be saying “I’m not interested in your negativity.” And not letting her get her say over and over.
Post # 11
My mother is probably one of the most manipulative people I know, totally understand where you’re coming from. She loves my FH and we have a very strong understanding on how our relationship goes now that I’m 25 and on my own. (Been on my own since 17 really). It took years of that though. What you have to understand is you are an adult, you cannot let her manipulation and controlling behaviors affect you or your life decisions, and if she isn’t happy for you then that is HER loss. She will reap what she sows if she doesn’t treat you like you should be treated as her adult daughter. My mom had to lose me for about 3 years, no communication what so ever, to truly understand she needed to get her act together. That was my choice and it was the best choice in my situation. Is it for you? Maybe not… but just remember to never ever let her negatively impact your happiness because of her negativity.
Post # 12
I feel like I should pop back in for a life update:
mom did admit that she didn’t acknowledge him much because we were only dating and she didn’t think it was serious enough yet to treat him like family. She has occasionally made offhanded comments about him but the more she has gotten to know him the less she can say. He showed up for her when her mother died, he was at my bedside along with her when I was hospitalized and rushed into surgery last year, he has loved and supported me and made it clear that he will support any dreams I want to accomplish and will work his butt off to help me get there. And we just got engaged last weekend, she initially was a bit taken aback but has actually said she’s very happy I found someone that loves me so much and that I am happy. She even hugged him and congratulated him, and has told me in the last few months he’s always welcome to family events.
Also, she admitted to me that the biggest problem she ever had with him was that she was scarred if he stayed his current weight, he may be medically challenged later in life. That’s a legitimate concern and the fact that she said that lets me know she cares about his wellbeing.
All in all things are so much better. Not perfect by any means but the fact we held our ground and I continue to gently remind my mom that I love her but make my own choices, has calmed things way down.