Posted by: JANE | 2009/08/07


Dear Cybershrink
Last night I came to the realisation that I must make peace with the fact that a can never have a truly happy life.
My story: I am a varsity graduate earning a good enough salary. This was made possible by a single mother who earned just above the breadline and still put me through varsity. Today my mother is dependant on me, she stays with me. She cannot live on her own as she is partially disabled. However, she is one of those people who believes that she is right and always remember everything in her own version. She just does not get it that even though she made all these sacrifices for me and thus enabled me to have a career, doesn' t mean that I must still do things her way. She is a guest in our house but she still sees us (husband and I )as children who need to fill her in on all our plans. She and my husband is not on speaking terms for the last 2 months now. Do you understand how that makes me feel? I am always in the middle. I have told her countless times that she should not expect any respect from my husband as she neva gives him any. I feel that I must live my life still to focus on her and keep her needs in mind. We don' t even have friends over cos how is hubby gonna pretend that he has the best relationship with his mother in law? We can' t even have wine in our own house because she doesn' t approve! I' ve had problems with my domestic not pitching for work and then my mother has to babysit and care for the baby. She does this with all the love in the world but yesterday after I told her that I will be looking for another domestic she simply informed me that she has told one of her friends that are desperately looking for work that she can have the job. I was totally upset about this and asked her how could she make that decision as she is not the one paying the person. Immediately she started with her blame game and pity talk, how she is so sorry that she must be dependant on me cos she sees yet again that she is just a burden to me, I never include her in these important decisions and immediately start bring up old history. She does not see that she was wrong. I am so unhappy. Its my house but I can' t live my life the way I want to. I love my mother, she means the world to me and she helps a lot with my daughter but what can I do? I' ve spoken to her so many times about this.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

It is not true that you are doomed to never have a happy life. It never is. Maybe it's true that, given your mom's attitudes, you may never quite please her, but that's significantly different.
Maybe you're unhappy right now, but whatever the problem you should be able to work with a CBT therapist and find ways to deal with it better.
Of course this is a very disturbing and complicated problem, but solutions could be found, which a psychologist could helop you explore. One can avoid excess conflict, ignore some of her provoking behaviours. As regards her friend and the job, tell her calmly ( and the friend ) that NOBODY EVER gets a job from you except if that is YOUR decision, and you will interview the friend, and some other posible people, and will make up your own mind. If your mother wants to hire someone on her own, she would have to pay them herself, which would not be a good idea. Don't try to convince her she is wrong, only that these are YOUR decisions, and in those, whatever you decide, is right. And in the same conversation, maybe at its beginning, remind her of how much you love and appreciate her and what she has done in the past and still does --- but that this doesn't mean she must now run your house or make all your decisions.
I wonder whether part of the problem may be that after all her hard sruggles to help you achieve what you have, she now feels useless and redundant and unimportant. Explore --- are there places within reach looking after sick kids, or old people, or whatever, where she could volunteer and help with the work, and feel useful and appreciated again, rather than having her concentrate on trying to help you where you don't want or need help and advice ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: Rick | 2009/08/07

You just need to set boundries with your mother and stop her manipulating you...she plays the guilt trip on you. If you dont want to see this you will never get this situation right.

Its not rocket science.

Good luck

Reply to Rick
Posted by: Tarzan | 2009/08/07

Dont lose hope you can find peace, have an open dialogue with both your mother and husband and raise all your concerns.

Reply to Tarzan

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