- 8 years ago
I got engaged yesterday but unfortunately ended up with a huge fight with my mom.
This is how the conversation went:
Mom = how is everything
Me = i have some good news, i think
Mom = okay
Me = we got engaged
Mom = oh. (silence)
Mom = so you’re going to get married to him
Me = yes
Mom = when?
Me = we were thinking of september. on our 10 year anniversary
Mom = are you sure you’ll be happy with him?
Me = couldn’t you have just said congratulations?
And…well it devolved from there. I accused her of not liking my fiancee. She accused me of not thinking of her as my mom. blah blah blah.
Now I understand that I did probably overreact. The problem is how to mend the rift that we have now.
I sent my mom an email apology acknowledging that I overreacted.
I got a response saying 3 main points:
1) She says that even if I met the perfect guy she wouldn’t like him because I’m her baby girl. To me, all that reinforces is my thought that she doesn’t like him.
2) She is hurt that I don’t understand her. My dad says that I have to understand her “tough love” and the fact that she thinks like an old fashioned korean. And that her criticism are her showing her love. And that by criticizing my fiancee she is trying to build that love for him.
3) That if I ask, she will stop showing her “love” but that it would hurt her and cause her to not be close to me.
I don’t know how to respond to this. Intellectually I understand what she’s saying. Emotionally it’s a whole other story.
Part of it stems from my childhood. My very first memory is of me when I was four yelling at my mom that “she’s not the boss of the world”. My dad proceeding to hold me on the edge of an open window and said that if I ever spoke to my mom again like that he would drop me.
I can still remember the sounds of the cars driving below and the swirling of the barber shop pole to my right. What I learned from that was that if I hurt my mom in any way, that I would not be loved.
Now as an adult I know that’s not what they meant. And not the lesson I was supposed to learn. Again, intellectually I know. But emotionally I’m still desperately trying to please my mom so that I will be loved. When I was younger the minute my mom would change her tone of voice to punish me for something I did wrong I would start bawling. It would get me in even more trouble. Even today, at 28, after I get off the phone with my mom if she criticizes me I end up crying.
I once tried to discuss this with my mom and instead of being able to tell her how I felt about this I learned all about how she had to go to counseling because of it. I never brought it up again.
What I would like is for my parents to acknowledge that I’m trying to separate my emotions with what I know intellectually. All I ever get from them is that my mom is trying and I should understand. I’m trying too. But I don’t see how I can tell them this without causing a bigger rift.
But I also don’t see how I can keep going like this. Every time I get criticized and hold it in, I get more resentful. But asking my mom to not criticize is apparently telling her to not love me.