Post # 1
The very thought of talking to my mother makes me want to cry. I love my mother… I’m pretty sure anyhow and she isn’t a bad person. Still I was raised on the idea that I was just a really short adult and needed to act like one. So I grew up pretty fast and never really fit in with my peers until the later years of college. This by itself is not my problem. My problem is that now that I’m 23, almost done with college, and living on my own with my SO of three years, my mother has decided to start treating me like an 8 year old. I have my own life and have for the past 5 years. I do not need her unsolicited input on everything I do. The woman never calls her mother (actually my grandmother initiates all of their contact) but she has determined it is ok to call me twice a week. Of course she have never once visited me at my residence since I moved out when I was 18. (I only live an hour and a half from my parents.)
My father is supportive and we talk every couple of months (Interesting because I often here him in the background when I’m talking to my mother on the phone). He recognizes that my SO has been there for me consistently and knows that I’m building a life with him. My mother on the other hand never misses a chance to ask if we’ve broken up. Every compliment she gives me is followed up by a backhanded insult. “I’m glad you are doing well in your classes but I don’t get why you chose to take power systems 2 instead of communication systems 2. Fourier transforms are really easy.” A) You are a com engineer and power is my emphasis and B) They aren’t for me and I’ve told her so repeatedly. But I can never bring myself to tell her that she’s being vicious and SO keeps picking me back up when I fall apart after talking to her. And it has slowly been bothering me more and more. About two months ago I started crying after I got off the phone with her every time and today I lost it when I saw it was her calling. So I didn’t pick up and decided to call her back when I calmed down again.
I made it three sentences into our conversation before my voice started cracking. I really need advice on how to fix this. I don’t want my mother out of my life completely but I can’t keep going like this. If I confront her I know the fall out is going to make my and my father’s lives harder for at least the year it takes her to cool down but she makes me so sad. Its frequent enough and intense enough that its starting to bring me down in other aspects of my life.
Post # 3
I don’t have much advice, but you are certainly not alone. The relationship I have with my mother is not so terrible that I would cut her out of my life, but it is bad enough that I dread spending time with her because it never ends well. I do understand how hard it is to confront her though, but that may be your only option. Be blunt and tell her you won’t accept her passive aggressive insults.
Post # 4
ohhh, honey. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Just know you’re not alone. hugs!!!
Post # 5
@AtLeastIHaveHim: Your mom sounds like a really negative person.You have a few options to deal with this.
1) If you’re not in the mood, don’t take her calls. Answer only when you’re feeling good, super confident, and when you know she can’t tear you down.
2) Balance her negativity with your own positivity, followed up by changing the topic. Her: “I don’t know why you haven’t broken up with him yet!” You: “He makes me so happy and I love him. How’s grandma?”
3) Stand up to her, in a firm, but non-dramatic way. Her: “Blah blah negative/critical crap.” You: “Mom, when you say things like that, it really hurts my feelings. Your opinions mean a lot to me. I know I am making good decisions in life, because you taught me how! But I need you to be supportive. If you can’t do that, I don’t think we should talk as often.”
4) Get your dad’s perspective. Ask if he has any insight into why she’s so critical of you and if he has an tips for managing it.
Good luck. This stuff is hard, but forming healthy boundaries between ourselves and our parents is often a big part of being an adult!
Post # 6
My mom and I have a communication relationship that seems similar to yours. I dread the thought of having to call her, I panic internally when her name shows up on my phone, and I always hang up feeling worse than I did beofre I picked up. My father and I also have a good relationship, and I intentionally visit him in the time frame between when they get home from work (he comes home first).
I have learned over the years (I’m 29 now) to compartmentalize her a little bit. I have a special place for Mom anger, now that I am confident in my own decisions. You have to hear, or pretend to hear, concern. Because the hard and fast truth that I know, is that if she didn’t care about you, she would not bother calling, or expressing opinions different than yours (I say this with the assumption that she was not physically or verbally abusive).
When I don’t agree with something she says now, or if she uses a backhanded compliment, I call her out on it in a constructive, non-vindictive way. Yelling or crying or snarking at her only fuels her fire. Saying, “Mom, when you say “Did you know everything processes through your liver? Did they tell you not to drink alcohol?”, it doesn’t convey that you’re concerned. It just makes me think, “Does my own mother think I’m so dumb that I don’t know what my liver does?”
It sounds very cliche and “therapy-esque” but it helps me both express to her that she hurt me, and realize that the way it makes me feel is not true (i.e., I know I’m not stupid).
If she is truly verbally abusive, then I would seek therapy or a counselor so that your SO doesn’t become your primary sounding board for such a complex issue. Mothers are tough, I am sorry you are going through this.