- 5 years ago
- Wedding: May 2015
I am not sure where to begin. My family is a mess; more accurately, my mother’s and my relationship is a mess. This is going to be long– thank you so much for reading. I am miserable and need supportive advice and help. (Because the situation is complex, I would really, really appreciate it if anyone who comments could please read through all of it).
It all started with me meeting my SO, who is a wonderful man who cares for me and supports my well-being in every way. My mother took a strong dislike to him immediately– she has never approved of any of my boyfriends, and I believe, because my SO is very good to me and is the man I want to spend my life with (therefore there’s no rational reason to dislike him), she simply has a problem with letting me go. I should note that I’m 25, a busy graduate student, and have been living on my own for 3 years now– I’m an independent adult and have asserted that to her several times, and she says she is aware of that but her actions do not follow up on what she says.
My mom has a very complicated/strange relationship with her mother, with a lot of guilt and baggage and holiday-time drama and old expectations built in. In trying to rebel against that, my mother has gone to the other extreme, by taking a surface attitude of “do what you want,” “you can come home whenever you want, I don’t want you to feel like you HAVE to” and “I don’t like holidays, let’s never do them again” (which she doesn’t actually mean) and, the latest thing, “I don’t want to deal with the holiday, let’s just do something later in January.” But she is really desperate to see me and misses me horribly; I see my parents a couple times a month, since I’m in grad school (though now I am on break and at home/working almost full time). I know this, but because she tends to be a source of stress and because it’s exhausting/fun/hard to go home and visit, I tend to take her noncommital comments about visiting/not visiting at face value, and delay going home to visit.
That is not all. She thinks that my SO’s family takes precedence in my life and basically they dominate/coerce my choices. This is NOT true; she sees it that way because she dislikes them and believes I see them all the time, as my SO and I live on the same road as his family– not so; I have hardly seen them at all this fall, until now– have seen them even less than my parents.
So, latest flare-up: last week, I went out to dinner with my parents after work, as my work is close to their home. I was trying to get some answers as to what they wanted to do for the holidays– I was offering to come home for this past weekend– and what I heard from my mother was basically, “I’m so tired of holidays, I don’t want to deal with them, let’s not think about it right now, maybe we could do something later in January and you can come home for a few days.” So, this is what I heard, but apparently that is not what she was thinking/really meant. I didn’t talk to my parents after that until yesterday, when I call them (they never call me; so weird grrr; they’re trying to “give me space because I’m busy/independent etc” or something, but it seems extreme). It turns out that even though my mother said all that, and I offered to come home for this last weekend (idea was rejected), she actually was thinking that I should come home for NEXT weekend, which I can’t do because my SO’s family is having Christmas then–it’d been concretely planned for 2 weeks, and I had already said I’d go. And my SO’s birthday is on the weekend after that. I’m not ditching my SO’s family at the last minute when I already said I’d be there, and I’m not going to be absent on my SO’s birthday the next weekend, and I told my parents about having these plans and not wanting to be separated from my SO on N.Y. Eve, or on his birthday. My mother blew up and said bitterly and meanly, “so we’re last on your list, as usual.”
That really hurt my feelings. They are NOT last on my list but because of the history of drama I no longer look forward to spending time with them, and feel unwanted at some level because I am almost never actually asked nicely to come and visit. My mother NEVER lets me know what she wants from me; she seems to expect me to know without her asking! I am an adult with my own busy life and commitments to more people than just my parents; if she doesn’t let me know what she needs/expects in advance, I am going to commit to more concrete plans with others in the meantime. Of course that makes me feel guilty. And having dealt with THAT, I now don’t want to see her for a month, whereas before I was looking forward to making plans with my parents after these next 2 busy weekends are over.
I should note that my father seems to like my SO fine, acts reasonably, and indicates that he would like to see me in a reasonable and direct manner, including sometimes emailing me on his own initiative and suggesting that I visit. Unlike my mother, who doesn’t seem to get it that her somewhat passive-aggressive insinuations of when she wants to see me DO NOT WORK. My father also seems to think, in the few indications I get of this, that my mother is unreasonable about everything concerning me being an independent person, but since he is her husband he has to support her feelings/actions.
Oh, the guilt and anger and frustration. . . how do I get my mother to communicate with me more clearly? How do I get her to actually call me up and invite me to come home at a certain time? I’ve already asked her to JUST CALL ME IF SHE WANTS TO TALK and she doesn’t. ARGH. Am I crazy for feeling like my mother tends to bring this crap on herself? Should I be doing something differently? How do I let the crap roll off me instead of stabbing me to the core and making me feel so guilty? Help– suggestions for improving the situation or just emotional support would mean so much to me right now. Thank you.