(Closed) Overbearing Mother

posted 4 years ago in Family
Post # 3
1728 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 1998

How much information are you feeding her? Does she live close by? More information along those lines can really help us give you better help.

I get the impression you may be oversharing with her – not intentionally, of course. But, it’s apparent that this is a woman who’s going to get information, then find a way to use it as ammunition against you. Setting some boundaries immediately – i.e., you’ll only answer your phone certain days, at certain times, and that you’ll limit how long phone conversations/visits will be – is likely of the utmost importance for you.

Every time she starts in about what you ‘should’ do, I would say, “I can make good decisions. Well, look at the time! Gotta go!” I’d avoid inviting her over so at the least you can end a visit whenever you want if it turns sour.

Being enmeshed with a controlling mother isn’t unusual. You do have to find a support system outside of her. I can’t say my relationship with my mom is totally different. Do you stand up for yourself? I have walked out of my parents’ house when I’ve felt they have behaved inappropriately, and I’ve avoided answering phone calls when I can tell she’s about to do a dramaroll. Training this woman is key to restoring some of your sanity, OP, even if it causes some discomfort initially.

Post # 5
944 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: December 2013

You need to put up some serious boundaries, stat. I ended up moving 5 states away from my control freak Dad just to get some breathing room. My sisters stayed put and ended up miserable because he tried to run their lives.

Post # 6
7564 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

She sounds overbearing. Do keep in mind that you’re letting her do this though. She wouldn’t be able to tell you what to do if you didn’t involve her in your life. I’m not saying that you should cut her out completely but try not responding to her when she tells you what to do. If she doesn’t take the hint tell her you won’t talk to her until she apologizes.

I know it hurts. No one wants to be rude to their mother. It doesn’t sound like you can have a good relationship with her without boundaries though. Let her know that you want to be closer, as equals. 

Post # 7
2379 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

The drop ins have to stop or you and your husband will lose your minds.  Every time she tries to just “drop in” without calling, be busy.  Be about to shower, clean, walk out the door to run errands, whatever.  Make sure you repeat a variation of this phrase every time, “Oh, I’m sorry!  I didn’t know you were coming over.  If you call next time, I’m sure we can spend time together”. 

When she calls on a daily/multiple times a day basis, start telling her “I’m sorry, but I’m terribly busy/this is a bad time/I’m in the middle of something.  Could you call me back tomorrow?  How does 7ish sound to you?”.  When she tries to criticize your lifestyle and choices, just go with a “Thank you for your opinion.” and change the subject immediately. 

All of these will have to be repeated over and over until she learns what boundaries are.  Be consistent and keep the smile.  You don’t have to be nasty to get your point across.  Polite but firm works wonders.  Do not engage, do not allow her to start a debate.  Wash, rinse, repeat.

Post # 8
1478 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

My mother is the same way and I am having a hard time dealing with her – especially with all the wedding plannig going on. I find myself not wanting to tell her anything about my life, because I know it will be brought up in future conversations. She offers unsolicited advice all the time, which is super annoying. Another thing she does is send me emails or text messages about what I should do – you should send a birthday card to so and so, or so and so died and you should send a sympathy card. Thank you, mom, I am 26 years old and I think I can remember to send a birthday card if I choose to do that.

I don’t really have any advice, but just wanted to let you know someone else has the same mom. I try to ignore her for the most part when she does those things. It also probably helps that she lives 2 hours away, so I don’t have to deal with daily drop ins – which I am sure she would do if she lived closer.

Post # 9
916 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@shootznladrz89:  Boundaries. Part of the reason this happens is because you let her get away with it. I have similar issues and I know it’s really hard to be okay with not wanting your mom to be too involved.

Post # 10
2609 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

@shootznladrz89:  Wow.  Have you ever thought about just sitting her down and saying something along the lines of,

“Mom, I know you love me and worry about me and I appreciate that but I would also appreciate it if you recognized that I am an adult capable of making my own choices and decisions. You need to stop commenting on how I run my day to day life and voicing your opinion on personal things like my finances, my marriage and my home.  If I feel like I need your advise, I will ask you for it but otherwise, I need you butt out.  If you continue to try to interfere or complain about my choices, the end result will be that I’ll avoid you and we won’t be close.”

If you can’t do that, then just correct her when she’s overbearing. 

“Mom, only two people will be involved if and when I get pregnant and neither of them is you.”

“Mom, our getting another puppy/home decor/whatever has exactly zero impact on you.  Let’s talk about something else.”

If she won’t change the subject?  Tell her you have to go and then go.  Do it every single time until she learns that you’re not going to listen to her rants.


Post # 11
7450 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

You both need to stop answering the phone and send it voicemail. That’s how I trained my crazy sister to leave me alone. I would get back to her when I was good and ready. And if she “drops by” don’t answer the door. I know it sucks but you have to let her know that she can’t get her way when she behaves badly.


Post # 12
6809 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Stop answering the door, stop answering your phone, same thing with your DH.  Ignore, ignore ignore. 

Post # 13
453 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I’m sorry, I really sympathize with you, only it’s my future MIL who does this instead of my own mother. Right down to the incessant text messaging and getting upset with decisions WE make that don’t concern her in the slightest.

We adopted a kitten in 2011, and she did the exact same thing when she found out. How DARE we do this without consulting her, how DARE we do this to her?! … Even though we live 30 minutes away, don’t ever ask for any sort of help, and are completely financially independent (in fact, SHE borrowed from US at the time to cover her poor budgeting). Fiance ended up chewing her out for leaving us all kinds of nasy voicemails, and told her she didn’t have a place in our decision making. And wouldn’t you know it? Our household has been more or less the same since our addition.

My fiance has set up strong boundaries, because he did feel smothered by her, and I support him in that. If she steps over those boundaries, my fiance either talks to her about it, or we enforce those boundaries and refuse to reward that behavior. So, drop-in visiting, for example: we used to ask her all the time to please call first, because we were often busy and she would drop in at a really bad time. Now, we don’t answer the door– even if both our cars are in the driveway. If she tries calling about it later, he reminds her that we were busy and that this is why she should call first. Her visits have dropped dramatically, and she calls more often beforehand.

She also used to call us hollering and screaming about this or that, but he put a stop to that too. He won’t engage in an argument with her, and turns off his phone if she keeps trying to harass him. I’ve personally set my phone to send her number straight to voicemail, and now she hardly calls me at all. She does text, but I only respond to conversational texts (e.g. “how are you”), not ones where she’s drunk and trying to dictate our lives from afar. And again, without that behavior being rewarded, we’re seeing less and less of her bad side.

And honestly, it might get worse before it gets better. It’s like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum: they cry louder and louder to see if you can break before they do, so the trick is to make them break first. Hold firm in all of your boundaries. And, to be fair to your husband, he shouldn’t have to field her frenzied phonecalls. As I mentioned before, I have my MIL automatically sent to voicemail, so the call doesn’t even pop up. See if he can do something similar, so she can still give him a message if necessary, but he doesn’t have to deal with his phone ringing off the hook.

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