Posted by: scorpio | 2007/12/02

my mom\s critisism

Do you think children and parents can grow apart?
I am 36 and my parents still think I am a child. I have lived on my own for the last 8 years and have coped very well. For the last 2 years, I have undergone extensive CBT counceling and am currently on anti-depressants and I a happier now than I have ever been. I am confident and things are generally going my way. I have chosen not to be in a serious relationship and at the moment dont think I want to get married or have children. I am quite content.
However, when I go to visit my mom, the moment I walk into the house, I am critisised. There is always something wrong with my appearance, be it my hair, my body, my tan, etc. My mom feels like she always has to convey her opinion onto me and 9/10 is is always something negative. The last straw was when she said I have an ugly personality and that is why I am not married...!
All my life I have had self-esteem issues and I think it is because of my mom constantly pulling me down. But with councelling, I have managed to build myself up. But everytime I see her, she brings me down. I have reached a point now, in thinking that I dont want to see or speak to her anymore.
Your thoughts would be appreciated.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Pleased to hear of the progress yhou have made in several important areas. I would think it important to devote a number of CBT sessions very specifically to the issue of not allowing your mother's opinions and comments to matter so much to you or affect you so badly. Build up the self-confidence to tell your mom that you are not going to visit her unless guaranteed that she will withhold her unwanted and unhelpful criticism. If anyone has an ugly personality, it may well be her. Though CBT counselling may start with building up your self-esteem, the task is incomplete until you have dealt with immunizing yourself against a toxin like your mom'\s opinions which have been allowed to drag you down again. You are under no real obligation to see her again until she modifies her negative behaviour. You don't have to allow her to make you fel miserable

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Our users say:
Posted by: daughter | 2007/12/02

Hi Scorpio

I totally agree with need to tell your mom. Challenge her in a calm manner. She is probably so engrossed in her own expectations of you and how she would have wanted you married with perhaps 2.5 grandchildren for her already. She thinks she has control and a hold over you. The umbilical cord was cut long long time ago. So there has to be a healthy balance here, she is your mom and I believe you do love her, but you don't love her negative behaviour and nasty hurtful remarks.

You need to set your boundaries and not allow her to cross them. You are your own person, you are an intelligent adult woman who can make her own decisions. Your mom needs to respect that. By confronting her and telling her how you feel and how hurtful her negative remarks have been to you, and that you won't be visiting her again unless she is prepared to change, you will be setting your boundaries.

You wil also feel a tremendous sense of empowerment when you do that. It sounds like its long overdue. Don't allow her or anyone to take your power away or attack who you are. You also don't have to believe what she says about you as true, when in fact you know its not. If you are happy with yourself and who you are, if someone has has a problem with that, then it becomes their problem, not yours.

Thats my 2c piece of advice.

I too had this throughout my life, until I set my boundaries. I was hospitalised and she never bothered to come see me in hospital but she did call me to complain about how some family members treated her! She also showed tremendous favouritism and constantly bends over backwards to do anything and everything for all and sundry except me. Its very hurtful but I have made the decision not to allow her to interfer in my life or how I live it. She had her life and her choices, she cannot make choices for me and when and if I need her opinion, I will ask for it.

That doesn't mean I don't love her but I know she is not perfect and although she thinks she is, I detach myself from her behaviour and the person who she is, for I know I will never change her. She is too old and set in her ways, but I thank God that I still have a mother.

Reply to daughter
Posted by: Britty | 2007/12/02

Have you ever tried to tell your mother how you feel about her negative remarks telling her that you find them hurtful or is that difficult for you. I always knew I was not my mother's favourite child and I never knew her praise which I put up with for many years as she was my mother!!! However after my dad died she became worse and one day she told me outright I was a disappointment to my parents! She said this whilst staying in my home because neither my sister nor brother would put up with her. To my surprise I found myself telling her exactly how I found her awful remark quietly, calmly and very firmly. My mother became upset and apologised. I would like to say that was the end of her negative remarks but if wasn't however I made the choice of standing up for myself without shouting and getting upset and we managed to get along. You maybe need to try and get across to your mother how you feel and how it places a strain on your relationship, perhaps another family member can help. Take Care.

Reply to Britty

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