- 2 months ago
Sorry if this is a long one! I’m 29 and my mom and I have had a rocky relationship for the past 10 years or so. My mom asked my dad for a divorce while I was in high school, and I wouldn’t say she went about it the best way. She told me before she told him, so I had to wait for him to come home and get the news. They never had a volatile marriage, but I wouldn’t say they expressed a lot of love for eachother either. Once they were divorced, she leaned on me a lot to support her and probably over-shared with me since I’m an only child. We had always been close, but I would say our relationship became more of a friendship and since then the boundaries have become worse. My dad passed away 10 years ago, and since I’m an only child we’ve had to be eachother’s support systems when that probably isn’t the healthiest dynamic for us. Also, as she gets older she doesnt’ take care of herself (she’s in her early 60’s now), is unhappy at her work, and isolates herself. She sees her friends a couple times a year, always has fights with her siblings, holds grudges against people, and can be short-tempered and rude. I know she loves me very much, and she does show that love in many ways, but I wish we had a healthier relationship and I wish she was happier with her life. She loves to say things like if it weren’t for me, she probably would’ve killed herself by now…
I’ve been with my SO for over 1.5 years now. We live together and spend time with eachothers families, but haven’t had them meet yet. His parents are divorced/re-married and I just have my mother. His mother is very inclusive and has invited my mom over to join for holidays almost since we started dating, but my mom always politely declines. Since my boyfriend and I have discussed getting engaged within the next 6 months or so (around our 2 year anniversary), I’ve been trying to think of ways to introduce our parents without putting too much pressure on my mom.
I was baptized/confirmed catholic this weekend and thought it could be a good celebration for everyone to meet at a neutral location, so I planned a dinner. The dinner was me, boyfriend, his mom/her husband, my mom, and two of my friends whom I invited because my mom already knows them and they could make her feel comfortable. I was very nervous leading up to the dinner because my mom has met parents in my past relationships and has said some rude/awkward things. For instance, several years ago when someone asked her how her summer was she reponded “I don’t know, all my friends are dead”.
The dinner ended up being fine for the most part, but I’m still disappointed because when my mom showed up she shook their hands without smiling and when I tried to start conversations she was rude and complained about the noise/lighting/seating/etc. I was so overwhelmed, I went to the bathroom quick to un-wind and ended up crying and head to try to be presentable when I went back to the table. I know it was probably nerve-wracking for her, and she’s not a people-pleaser like I am, but I just wish I had the type of mom who could be more sociable and good-natured. I feel like she’s leaving an impression of me to their family. Most people I know tolerate her, and I know I should be more loving and accepting of who she is now, but I can’t help but feel defeated.
I’m not sure what advice I’m looking for…I know I sound like a kid in high school who’s embarassed of their parents. I just want to move past it! I know she battles depression, and I have my fair share of depression/anxiety/social anxiety, but I wish there was a way to accept her without it negatively impacting my own mental health. I’m also terribly afraid I’m gonna end up like her one day…