(Closed) How to set boundaries with my mom? (long)

posted 11 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

Yes!  I know what you are talking about!  Ok, so my mom does not call 50+ times in a row, but she has her own ways.  I have been living away from home since leaving for college at 18 and have been financially independent from my parents since 22.  I am turning 26 in a little over a month.  With my mom, she feels an overwhelming need to “teach” me everything.  Like how to manage my money, how to eat, what time I should leave for a trip due to weather, how to do laundry, how to buy fish, etc.  The issue is, I know how to do these things, yet she feels she needs to “instruct” me repeatedly, like, every time we see each other.  When I called my parents to tell them that I got a full time, salaried position with benefits, months before even graduating from my Masters program, they spent an hour telling me that I needed to move closer to the job and that I should’nt commute, too much money, etc, etc, etc. 

We fought regularly (mostly over the phone, as I live in a different state) for a year or so.  Then there was a blow up and we finally REALLY talked.  It’s been better since then.  I think the biggest issue for us has been transitioning from child to adult.  Our parents cannot yet see us as adults, even though we live responsible, adult lives.  It has gotten better for me, I’m sure it will get better for you.  Communication really is key.  I’m sure your counceling sessions will help as well.  It is such a difficult process to seperate from our parents, but it is always good to hear from other who struggle too 🙂  Good luck to you!

Post # 4
613 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2009

ahhh…your mom sounds like my mom. Are you an only child?

Moving helps a lot. When I first announced my move (from MI to CA), she behaved so crazily her husband insisted she see a therapist. Once I got here, she would call 15-20 times a day and leave long teary messages if I didnt pick up. At one point, she started telling people that she thought my now husband was beating me and thats why were in CA – so he can keep me away from her.

Madness.  She acted a damn fool from the time we announced our engagement to the wedding.  The only thing keeping me sane is the distance.

I have no advice.  Just a hug because I too have a mother with NO DAMN BOUNDARIES!!!!  I repeat, distance helps a lot.

Post # 5
1565 posts
Bumble bee

Oh, wow, this is a whole new level of smothering. I think many parents have trouble letting go, and college is a natural time for this to happen. But since you lived at home during college, the whole letting go process never occurred. 

Regarding the Christmas gift debacle, I think it’s sort of silly, but not a huge deal. I can see how you would get upset over it given the rest of the issues in the relationship, but by itself it’s more weird than hurtful. Unless it’s some ridiculously expensive gift she wants you to pay for. So I might not worry so much about that. 

But in terms of the bigger issue with your mom, you might think about telling her you canceled texting on your phone and eliminate that method of communication entirely, if it bothers you. Set up times for phone calls (either specific days/times or just something general, like every weekend, Sundays and Thursdays, whatever schedule you think is a good compromise). And let her know you’ll only be available at those times unless it’s an emergency. 

If you limit the actual time you talk to her and see her, it might become more bearable to listen to her try to make you feel guilty about not seeing her more often. If you can just let her talk and not respond or argue, maybe that’s best. But if you absolutely can’t take it anymore, you can ask her to stop making those types of comments if she wants to keep seeing you and speaking to you regularly. And then don’t talk to her for a few weeks if she doesn’t change her behavior. Clearly that’s setting yourself up for a lot of drama, but if you’re living in a different state, you can just keep at a distance if you choose.

That’s just my two cents on my own experiences – but they’ve been nowhere near this intense, so I don’t claim to know exactly how you feel. Good luck figuring it out, though!


Post # 7
48 posts
  • Wedding: January 2010

My mom, who is normally about a 5 on the crazy mom scale has been an 11 since day one of our engagement. What is it about weddings that make moms go crazy?? What works for me is to get all of the arguing out in one (or as few as possible) conversations. I see my mom every day (we work together, family business) but I refuse to talk about the wedding more than once a week. This lets me have one day where I’m cranky and hurt and angry, and the rest of the time I don’t think about it.

As for your situation, I would say that you need to set some definite boundaries with your mom. I think you’re smart to only see her once a month. I think you should keep that up, but you need to make it very clear that that’s all you can handle. “Mom, you’re smothering me.” Obviously this will be difficult, but if you think your relationship would survive, then I say go for it. Parents sometimes need to be told to let go when they can’t do it for themselves. This will lead to a huge fight, and probably a week or two of hurt feelings, but she needs to learn. Otherwise you’re in for a world of annoyance/hurt when you’re married…is she going to obsessively call and text you when you’re a WIFE???

Bite the bullet and have a brawl, that’s my vote. Obviously don’t be malicious but a line needs to be drawn…

Post # 8
48 posts
  • Wedding: January 2010

DON’T tell her you’re in therapy because of her!!! That’s one of those you’ll never be able to take back comments. It’s more hurtful than helpful, although I can see how it would be very cathartic for you. 

Hang in there!!

Post # 9
135 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: July 2010

I don’t have any advice on how to set boundaries necessarily because I haven’t figured it out myself but your mom sounds a lot like my mom! I love her and I hate fighting with her but sometimes she just drives me up the wall and I can’t help but snap at her…and then I feel so bad because she’s so nice and loving, she’s just the queen of guilt trips!!! She has also taken to calling my fiance if I don’t pick up the phone, and sometimes she calls his mom since his parents live in the same city as us and see us much more often. That drives me bananas too. I’m the first child though, and I think a lot of it is, she doesn’t know how to let me be an adult.

So no advice, but hang in there!

Post # 10
1260 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010

@Nexus-6: First of all, I TOTALLY understand where you are coming from. We could seriously be from the same family. I also went into therapy to deal with my mother’s lack of boundaries, and it has been a HARD road. Here are some suggestions my therapist made for me regarding setting boundaries:

1. Regarding telephone calls: have a day that you call, and that is that. I call my mother on the weekend, and we talk for anywhere from 30-45 min. But the rule is no phone calls during the week unless it is an emergency. My mother’s constant calling was a real disruption to my life, and her phone calls typically had no purpose whatsoever. I would also tell your Mom you got rid of your texting plan, like another poster suggested.

2. When she does something to drive you up the wall, tell her right away and use descriptive statements. For example, if she calls you obessively or makes a scene, simply say “each time you do X, I feel (angry, sad, hurt, frustrated…etc). You need to stop to make ensure we can maintain a good relationship with each other.”

3. If she breaks the boundaries, do not give in. For example, if you set a limit on calling, and she still calls you at all hours, DO NOT answer the phone. It took me a while to get used to this.

Know that you may feel guilty doing this, even though you shouldn’t. I was also the “model” kid growing up, and now at age 26, I am still facing motherly drama. Good luck!!!

Post # 12
18628 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2009

I don’t really have any experience but I agree that have a set ‘date’ to talk to her weekly/monthly/whatever so that you two can talk and it’s not like you are ignoring her.  And it really isn’t cool of her to give you presents to give her for Christmas.  That really isn’t showing you that she appreciates your thoughts about what she wants.

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