Post # 1
I am a 23 year old married woman. I am in college and I have been living away from home for over 2 years. My 49 year old mother constantly worries about me and "What if..?"’s CONSTANTLY. Example: I run out of toilet paper and have to go to the grocery store after dark (like 7 or 8 pm), she finds out and freaks out "Couldn’t your husband have taken you? Girls are kidnapped and raped and murdered all the time. You shouldn’t go places alone or after dark!" Etc. ad nauseum. I am in the midst of finals, and I am very VERY busy, sometimes I only get 3-4 hours of sleep a night and don’t have time to call. If I go one day without calling her, rather than just call me herself she is icy cold when I call the next day and chews me out for not calling. This makes calling her become a chore rather than fun, and it hurts my relationship with her. We have always been very close, but her behavior is making me want to keep my distance. I have tried to tell her this constantly, and constructively, but rather than acknowledge it and try to do something to improve the situation, she gets angry and takes it as an attack against her. She also calls constantly to "just check up" on me, which makes my husband feel like she doesn’t think he can take care of my well being, and causes arguments between us with me trying to defend her. Let me state that I do not mind calling her everyday, I love talking to my mom, but if I do not call, and she freaks out and gets angry, that hardly seems fair. I have tried to explain that her phone makes *outgoing* calls too, but she seems to think that I should be the one to constantly call her. I have pointed out that she does not call her OWN mother but every 3-4 days and she claims that that’s different. My mother also has Ulcerative Collitis, which is a bowel disease brought on by stress, that can cause colon cancer. I have tried to explain to her that allowing herself to worry constantly is leading to her flare-ups, which don’t happen when she’s not worried all the time. What can I do?? She is damaging our relationship. I cannot stand having her have to be in constant contact 24/7 with me or she gets angry, and I cannot stand her constant worrying that is beyond the scope of reality (You could be sold into human trafficking! Men look at you wherever you go, one could follow you to your car and you could never be seen again!!) What do I do?!?
Post # 3
Bumping this because I really need some advice on how to handle this! She just emailed me and called me ungrateful after I emailed her and explained in a very constructive and uncriticizing way the issues I was having with this and how it was hurting me, her, and our relationship, and what could be done differently. I am so frustrated by this…She gets so offended if someone says she’s wrong, and she says they think THEY can do no wrong… ugh.. it’s like fighting with a child.
Post # 4
I don’t say this to be dismissive, but rather because I have a little experience in this area. I would really recommend that if your mom won’t get help/therapy, you do. I’m not talking long-term stuff, here, but at least a few sessions so somebody can teach you to deal with your mom’s generalized anxiety. It sounds like separation anxiety is a part of it and that she’s fighting to keep you enmeshed in her unhealthy cycle of worry-escalation. That can become really poisonous, especially if she’s trying to make you just as afraid as she is.
Sorry you’re having to deal with this — it definitely sounds like it’s way beyond the normal mom-concern.
NIMH link to Generalized Anxiety Disorder info– not that this is necessarily what’s going on, but it might be a little helpful for you in the short-term:
Post # 5
A friend of mine just recommended a book to me called "You’re Wearing That?" by Deborah Tannen. It’s about adult mother – daughter relationships and their specific issues. I’ve read parts of it, and it seems like it might be helpful to you — and, more importantly, your mother (if you suggest that she read it). It’s really good for communication issues.
My mom is a bit of a worrywart as well (and really nutty at times), but it sounds like your mother goes beyond this in a manipulative and controlling kind of way. But you may also be in a position to help her. Maybe if she sees that she’s damaging her relationship with her she might be motivated to change some of her overbearing ways (and hopefully she’ll make an appointment with a psychologist who can help her get a firmer grip on reality. It is safe for a woman to buy TP after eight pm, after all).
Post # 6
I agree she might need to talk to someone. She sounds a bit like a mom I know…. (Cindy is that you?) Just joking. She seems to be insecure, and anxious. Yikes. Right now there isn’t anything you can do to make her feel better. Even if you do call "enough" for her, she’ll find something in the conversation to feel bad about. You might not think you said anything, but she’ll construe it as you not loving her enough or setting aside enough time to be with her, etc.
The only thing you can do in the short term is protect yourself, by not letting her get to you. And try your absolute best to steer away from conversations in which she finds out you’re going out for TP after dark. It’s not juicy stuff. Maybe if she comes out and asks, you can say, "Wouldn’t you rather talk about…," "That topic will get us nowhere. I’d rather talk about something that makes us happy." And hopefully you have something exciting and upbeat to add.
Would it help if you offer to see someone with her, at least on an ocassion or two?
Post # 7
I had the exact same issue. The only thing is I finally just pissed my mom off, and went a week without talking to her. I told her she was smothering and exactly what she was doing. From then on she was so greatful to even have me call or answer, it wasn’t really a problem. I know this sounds really immature and mean, but it worked.
Post # 8
You have to remember that no matter if you are 23 or 53 your mother is always going to be thinking of you as her little girl.
& now that you are a married woman she probably worries that she is going to loose you. & not talking to her (even for one day) pushes you further apart.
Now we all know this is crazy. She is just worried. But she has to realize to that you are a grown woman with lots to do.
Maybe talk to her about all the great "grown up" things you are doing in your life.
Try to become "friends" with her so you both can start a new relationship together.