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stop feeling responsible for others feelings.
January 8, 2005
1:04 pm
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lostforever
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My mother has always been a very controlling person. If thing dont go her way or people dont give in to her then she will become angry or depressed.
She has never like any friends or people i bring into my life. She did this to me as a child, as a teen and is still as an adult.
i think she also has esp example today.
Her my father and me and my children are going to my sons bball game at 3, i spoke with a friend of mine and we made plans for tonight to get together and play cards or something. My mother does not like this friend of mine(she doesnt like many people,shes a fault finder). So when my mom called i did not tell her about these plans, because i did not want to listen to the hole speach about this friend of mine.

my mom said "hey i have a plan for after the game, bring the boys down to my house and we can all have dinner blh blah blah. At first i didnt repond as ahe kept going on about how much the boys will like that. I finally said well we'll see what time the game gets over. Well here comes the guilt and anger. "well i just thought i would be nice, and think of the boys blah blha blah."
I give in to her. Her and my dad do so much for me and my children that i almost feel obligated. she doesnt have any friends and i feel bad for her. If i was to say to her 'Well mom i've made plans" i would get the whole speach about this person , then would come the guilt trip, then anger and then she would become depressed.
So i always give in. I had plans for newyears and she did the same thing. Became extremly depresased and made me feel totally bad for not being with her, so i cancelled my plans and had her over.
I love my mom, but i am 32 years old dont have many friends(because my husband didnt like any of them) i want to socialize with people my own age but feel obligated in keeping my mom happy.
I know she is only trying to help, but i cant spend the rest of my life with her as my only means of socializing. I truly beleive it would make her happy if i never had another person in my life again.
I dont want to hurt her but me not hurting her is hurting me.
I dont know how to deal with this. I have gone in counseling with her before and counselers have told her she has to stop and let go. She becomes angery and refuses to go to that counseler again. They didnt agree with her so she feels they are wrong.

Any suggestions on dealing with a controlling mother?

January 8, 2005
1:05 pm
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lostforever
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I am sitting totally frustrated with myself. why cant i just stand up for myself and do things i want. I'm not a child anymore.

January 8, 2005
4:36 pm
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opal
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sorry, I can't offer advice, I'm in the same position, and I'm also 32 with children, your story is so much like mine.

I'm always the bad guy, she's always right, always knows what is best, and I continue to give her "grief", by wanting to live my own life.

I could go on, but it is your thread, so, I'm just going to say I really sympathize with you.

January 8, 2005
7:22 pm
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GeminiGirl
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My mother was the same way. And I have good news and bad news. The good news is that I learned to 'adapt' by not caring anymore what she thinks. After a few times of not abiding by her 'wishes', we went about 2 months without speaking. She can't stand that, and always comes back around. Now she knows the boundaries, and while I am respectful--if she doesn't like it, tough.

The bad news--isn't that co-dependent behavior; surpressing your feelings? I don't tell her how I really feel because she won't listen anyway. Instead I put up barriers. But I have to be honest--we've had such a better relationship since I have.

Sorry I don't have more constructive ideas for you.

January 8, 2005
8:40 pm
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sdesigns
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My mother is very controlling as well and she finally did something that was so awful that I didn't speak to her for 8 years. We are speaking now but not close (never were). But I think she learned a lesson that I will NOT put up w/ her crap. And since she and my sister (homeless) are on the outs, I think she figured out she actually needs her normal daughter (me). So now she has to mind her p's and q's.
I guess the moral of my story is you have to be stronger than they are because they will just keep pushing if they know they can get away w/ it>
SD

January 8, 2005
9:08 pm
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lostforever
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i gave in and went with her plans for the day. I wish i could just open up and say it straight, but no i just crawl into my shell and give whatever makes her happy.

January 9, 2005
10:01 pm
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opal
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I know when I am feeling down, I often give into what my mother wants, I just don't have the energy to fight, nothing that seems to match her determination anyway.

what makes it even worse is hating myself afterwards for letting her control me again, so my advice to you is not to be hard on yourself.

believe you will work things out, don't doubt your ability and don't see only the times where you feel you failed.

it is going to take time, just hang in there and don't give up.

if you feel helpless, all will seem hopeless, I know it does for me.

January 10, 2005
1:01 pm
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on my way
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A good book that deals with these issues...in fact there is an example in this book about controlling mothers...is BOUNDARIES by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend...very good book.
Best way is to just be honest with her. Say I am glad you want to spend time with me, but I have made other plans. She will probably do and act the same way she always has...not your responsibility to change...but it seems very necessary that you do this for your own sake....and chances are and I am only gussing, that because you do this with your mom, chances are there are other people in your life you may allow this to happen with? You deserve to be happy and free of this...good luck.

January 19, 2005
9:58 am
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pmo
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Don't know how I came to this thread but I can relate to it, so I just want to reitterate and add some views. sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. Don't pursue ideas that bring you down, live life for yourself and nobody else, and Im sure things will work out best for everyone. good luck.

January 19, 2005
9:58 am
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pmo
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January 19, 2005
8:25 pm
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j.a.
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but it isent that easy if we just lived for ourselves and for our happiness we would be egocentric narcisists, i think whats needed it balance, equilibrium... know waht we want and need and also consider others, but ina balanced way, thats what living with others is about , isnt it?

January 20, 2005
11:11 am
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marley
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I have struggled with this issue myself and the only thing that I can come up with is sometimes in being faithful to yourself you have to sacrifice being there for another. Our goals are not always in harmony and being self-sacrificing isn't always a benefit so as long as what we do is kind, necessary and honest, that is the best we can hope for. Not everyone may see your actions this way, but if this is your intent then you can hardly fault yourself for their inability to understand or relate.

January 20, 2005
12:36 pm
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oblivious
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I think thats easier said than done for a lot of us, but its something we really should do. We tend to feel better by 'living for others' sometimes....and when we do this, we forget who we our, ourselves. We forget to take care of ourselves...and then later, when we start feeling the emotional impact from that, we feel like when we DO take the time to be true to ourselves, we're being selfish. And sometimes it seems those around us accuse us of being selfish also, as we've spoiled them for so long. Those that are truly worth our efforts will understand, and even encourage us. If they don't....as you said, we are NOT responsible for their feelings.

January 20, 2005
12:52 pm
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marley
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one of the things i have seen on this website that I never really thought of before is that the needing to live for others is co-dependency. The idea has been such an eye opener. While I think that people are by nature social and need to be there for each other at certain times, I definitely don't think that we should thrive off each others misery and get some sick high off feeling like we "helped". I think it is a positive thing to be happy and to express your happiness with others and if they can make the choice to be happy then that is even better!

February 1, 2005
4:13 pm
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RD2005
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Hello ~~~ I really wanted to add to this discussion, since I'm in the same boat. I was raised an only child by my Mom and we actually suffered through much hardship together. I can see all the ways that she did the best she could, and definitely gave me lots of love, and attention...but as I got older, I realized there were strings attached to the love...meaning I basically had to be her 'social outlet'. She's never kept any friends, and complains about being alone, but continues to do nothing about it. I rebelled against this as a teenager for the first time...when I was about 13, and we had terrible fights for many years...then things calmed down up until I wanted to move out at the age of 26, (waited WAY too long if you ask me!). She didn't even speak to me for two weeks & yes, like some of you have experienced, she found fault with everyone I knew whether it was a new guy, or a nice girl I was friends with. She views EVERYONE as a threat to her...someone who could possibly take me away from her or monopolize my time...you wouldn't believe some of the tactics that she's used...she's even called my Uncle up to complain to him if I'm not spending enough time with her, and has gotten him to call and nag me. He's even more dysfunctional than she is...there really is a terrible self-centered, and selfish streak that runs through my whole family...I really think that's the root of dependency...selfishness & sort of sucking people 'DRY' emotionally--Just my opinion! Because I'm aware of this I actually ASK people if I'm being selfish in certain circumstances because I desperately want to stop myself from following this trend that runs so insidiously throughout my family. Well, I'm 35 and have been on my own since I was 26, and in so many way things haven't changed. She says that she realizes now that she allowed me to take responsibility for her for too long...but as soon as I don't call back fast enough, or if I have a new guy in my life...or if I'm just busy, I hear the 'tone' in her voice...sort of melancholy, self-pitying, and of course guilt-inducing tone. I went to a counselor a few times several years ago, and the 'mother' issue came up. I told her about some of the traumatic events I lived through as a child, and how it was always my mother and I seemingly 'against the world'(she actually used to use that expression)
Anyway, the counselor brought up a very interesting point. She said that both of us had actually 'bonded' in an un-natural way...almost the way hostages bond with each other during a crisis. That really made me think...it also made me remember that I had ALWAYS felt responsible for her feeling of depression/crisis, etc. Right back to the time I was two years old and my father walked out on us...I remember vividly wondering what I should do to make her feel better...and knew there was something terribly wrong...and felt very responsible. I work very hard to keep my personal life to myself--she knows nothing about new people in my life..and I wait till the every last second to introduce her to a new guy--I actually dread that the most...she has to be the be the biggest game player when it comes to this event. She pretends she's so happy for me, and goes through the motions...but as soon as she detects that the reason I can't do something she wants, or can't spend as long of a time with her, (A whole day and into early evening is what is usually expected), well, all hell breaks loose if she feels slighted in any way...her expectations are very high. This is actually an issue I have to work on within myself --I also have high expectations, and I'm sometimes actually expecting to be disappointed, and this creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I truly want to rid myself of these defects and chill out!! hahaha
Okay....here's just ONE tip I can offer, since I certainly have not gotten it all figured out, (but sometimes it feels SO good to know that some of us are in the same boat)...One time I was at a boyfriend's house, and I called her when he was in the other room, just to say hi. Well, she started laying into me and really going on a tangent because I hadn't seen her in a few weeks. I really couldn't defend myself or argue back because he could have heard me & I was have felt self-conscious that I was being talked to like a child. She must have gone on for about ten minutes..complaining and complaining, and asking me why hadn't I had spent time with her etc...to which I could only quietly respond that I had a lot going on... Well normally I would have been flipping out, making up excuses, getting angry and defensive, but I was forced to be very demure, and soft spoken--which is very difficult for my hot-headed Italian self!!
haha Well, she finally stopped...just stopped...it was as if I took the wind right out of her sails by not arguing back...it was crazy...she was forced to switch the topic...it was unreal!! A definite first!! But the only reason I found this out was because I was forced to be calm and rational...it's definitely hard to do under other circumstances. I guess the TRICK is to stop playing your half of the game...and your half is to react, or resist, or retaliate, or be defensive...or feel guilty...or to give in (Like I have many times)
So, by not reacting in your predictable, and typical manner, you can really throw controlling people in your life off-balance and at the very least they'll lay off for a while or back down ....at the very best, they might start showing some respect for you. I'm sure they'll come up with new strategies, but won't they get tired of their strategies if none of them work after awhile??? People only continue to use strategies that work. If you give in to their request when you don't want to, they'll know they can keep using the same strategy. It's incredibly difficult to stand up for yourself, and be assertive wihtout getting upset….especially when it’s someone you are seeking love and approval from. It will always be a struggle for me...but I hope I've helped a little by sharing !
Thanks for reading ~~~ RD

February 1, 2005
4:19 pm
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mrslewis
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That makes sense. I have a terribly controlling husband, and I think if I can control my emotions and not give him the reactions he's so used to getting from me, maybe something will change. It's something to think about...

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