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controlling mother
September 18, 2001
9:52 am
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aqua
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I've just realised, thro counselling, (i'm in my 40s!) that my mother has controlled me all my life. until recently she phoned me up to 5 times daily, wanting to know where i'd been, with whom etc. She has never accepted me for who i am and has always compared me to herself. one of the things i find very difficult is that she has always told me i love my father more than her and nothing i can do or say can convince her i love her enough. She says i am her life and is constantly worrying about me. If i go shopping after work and have not told her, i get messages left on the answering machine saying where am i and that she is so worried about me. when i was first referred to counselling, my first thought was "where shall i tell my mother i'm going?" It was a crisis in my life which made me realise this was wrong and i'm trying to put a stop to it.
i felt very guilty when i first told my counsellor about this, as i felt i was betraying my mother. she constantly tells me what a good person she is and how much she has done for me. My relationship with my father has suffered as whenever i try to talk to him, she follows me and tries to listen to what i'm saying to him and says i prefer him to her. i have felt feelings of anger towards her for years without realilsing why - causing yet more guilt. i am starting to nderstand my feelings a little better now but now my mother is old i feel it's too late to change much without hurting her. it's being going on too long. my marriage is no good and i feel responsible for this although i know i only married my husband to get away from my mother but i still haven't been able to do it. i thought i loved my husband but now i realise i should never have married him. my children have been brought up in an atmospher of anger and unhappiness and i feel responsible for that too. i long to have someone to love me and to love someone in return. i long to be independent of everyone but i get dependent on anyone who shows me the slightest kindness and that drives them away. Does anyone have a similar experience? is there any hope?

September 18, 2001
1:51 pm
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Molly
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I am sure that your counselor can identify some areas that will make sense to you as your counseling continues, as you have lots of areas to work on, figure out, and no need to try to change everything over night. Process all of it, took you 40 years to get here, don't try to undo it all over night.
With respect to mom, inlight of what you are learning, and now seeing with a different eye, try to understand that she means you no harm, she is comming from love. So, with that in mind, now draw your boundry lines gently. Mom obviously has no life. Sounds like you are it. You may ultimately have to be abrupt, like pointing out that hey mom, get another number on your dialer, do you realize that you call me 5 times a day, why don't you suggest that she especially in light of the current events do some charity work. you might start weening her by letting her know your new schedule won't allow you to be on the phone as much, and just a once a day 15 minuet phone call, then to once a week. You be busy, I am sure with mom, hubby, and kids, its been a while since you got in touch with you. Schedule your self, so that you are to busy.
Trust me your not alone. Many of us women have done the how the heck did I get here, and want to just up and walk away, make a new life, and do it over. But when you think about it, despite all that you have just discovered, there are many many things to be greatful for. Sure you may not have been the greatest, but look at those who have stood by you just the same. So, take some deep breaths, draw those boundry lines, and create with love in your heart, for your self and others.
some good books, life strategies by Phil McGraw, as well as the four agreements, sorry don't know the author. The Artists Way is also a good work book.

September 18, 2001
3:22 pm
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dummy1
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The only love better than a mother's is the love of God. Instead of fleeing from your mother why don't you try drawing near to her. The first thing I wondered when I read this is what will you do when mother passes away. You will ending up regretting those times you spent running from her rather than running to her. The first thing you should do is stop talking to other people and talk to your mom. When my car needs repairing, I dont work on the lawnmower. The relationship to a parent should be a loving relationship and your response to your mother doesnt seem to be very loving. the first thing you should do is ask your mother to forgive you for your unloving attitude toward her and explain why you have behaved this way. if you mother loves you as much as she says then through this see will realize that she needs to back off a little herself. Don't let her back off totally though because she will probably feel unloved once again. maybe set up a time at the beginning or end of the day to talk about your plans for the day and a surprise call every now and then during the day. I believe you do love your husband or their would not be the concern that you have that you don't. Continue to treat him with honor and respect and look for the little things that you love about him. The last thing is that there is no such thing as true independence. Everybody is dependent on somebody or something. maybe all you need is just a little time to yourself everyday to read a book or something and then come back to the love of your husband, children, and your mother.

September 18, 2001
8:22 pm
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gingerleigh
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My two cents: a woman who is old enough to have a husband and children is old enough to not have to be checking in with her mother in the morning, evening, and throughout the day. I agree with Dummy that your response is not very loving, but her behavior towards you doesn't seem to be very loving either. Your response is quite understandable!

I've watched my own mother go through the pain you are describing, Aqua. Her parents were extremely controlling, to the point of physical abuse when she was growing up and even after she was married and had a family of her own. Yet she would call them constantly, reassure them of her love for them, and walk around with a heart full of guilt for feeling trapped and controlled and resentful. It never got better. She attempted to talk to them about it, but they could never see eye to eye on things. So sad. She had to set her boundaries eventually, and it hurt them, but they eventually worked it out. She set up a time to call them twice per week. She screened her phone calls with her answering machine. She just finally said "enough!" and decided for herself what she would tolerate and what she wouldn't.

FYI, her abusive relationship with her parents throughout her adult life was a huge strain on her marriage, and after 28 years the pressure got to be too much and resulted in divorce. (She too married my father to get away from her parents.)

You'll have to set your boundaries, one way or another. Counseling is the most effective means of doing this in my opinion. The only thing I think I can tell you now that might make you feel better is that YOU ARE NOT ALONE, this happens to a lot of people, and it's a really tough thing to work through. The guilt can be so strong. We talk a lot about how we can get involved in such unhealthy relationships with spouses and partners, but the power of the parent has the potential to be so much greater.

Good for you for recognizing that you want to make your relationship better! You can do it! You also might find that setting the boundaries with Mom will also enable both of you to be happier and love eachother as people, not just as mother and child. Good luck, my dear.

September 19, 2001
12:38 pm
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Ladeska
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Dummy1 - I have to say after reading what you wrote that I am sitting her shaking my head. Alrighty then....might as well tell her to stick her head in the oven one more time but try to smile and enjoy it this time, okay? Aqua's response isn't loving? The parent/child relationship should be loving? Geez....it's just all her fault, huh? Well.....life "should be" alot of things....that it isn't. Denial is a rather dirty word. It kills just as much as bullets do.

Being the dutiful, good little girl, who stuffs everything inside and paints on smiles for the world is rather toxic and deadly to the person who does it. Would be interesting if Jean Benet Ramsey was still here and could speak on this subject.

There are issues here. A control freak for a mother and a daughter who has been controlled and trained from the cradle. The consequences and aftermath of such poison - is long reaching into the future. It's a cancer that cripples and seeks to destroy from the inside out.

So just tucking it, stuffing it and denying it - won't work. Sorry, tried that, seen it tried and it is like anything rotting that is buried - it erupts sooner or later.

True enough - she's old, all that can be done is - Aqua - you have to work on "you". That's all you could have done way back when, too.

It's always about - what you can do - for you. The focus has to be that and not how you can change her mind or behavior, but rather how you can change how you deal with them and react to them. Your wounds need attention also, but that healing doesn't have to involve them.

Aqua - you have had quite the sick relationship with your mother and I suspect - with your father as well. He has allowed things, too..... Sometimes the people who are the quiet ones, that appear to be the good ones, are rather passive manipulators themselves.. Passive aggressive behavior is rather interesting in how it works. They come out smelling like a rose alot of times, when in all reality - they have been pulling quite a few of the strings....

I suggest a good book to you - People of the Lie, by Dr. Scott Peck. Can pick it up at most bookstores in the psychology dept. Is quite interesting...

Your mom wasn't and isn't a very healthy person. She's been feeding on you because of what she lacked. Time to remove the plate lunch, while treating her with as much respect and compassion as is possible. From this time onward - it's time for you to take care of "you".

September 20, 2001
3:18 pm
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Ladeska
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