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Old 06-26-2006, 11:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Moms that Compete

My Mom is in her 50s and had me very young. I just turned 30 and I feel pretty good about my life so far. She always treated me like a sibling, or a gal pal. She's very good-looking for her age, and appears much younger than she is. One would think that she would be confident about her life, or secure in herself.
The problem is that she is always trying to undermine what ever I am doing by telling me it won't work,or how I am doing it all wrong for her taste. She shares her negative opinions about my love life, body, and my goals whether or not I ask her to. She disapproves of every friend or lover that I aquire, and she dooms my future to more failure unless I follow in her precise footsteps every step of the way. She thinks everything she does is perfect and she is without reproach in every way. She tells me her private information about men in her life, telling me that only she knows what men want or need.I am not as clueless as she thinks. I think I am quite successful, generally and sex-savvy. Teling her this invites only more criticizm. I feel like I'm being bombarded.
How do I handle her, or should I just give up?
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Don't "handle her" and don't give up.

Just try to get that all of this is how she says that she loves you.
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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your friend and your mother exhibit very similar behavior... to some degree...

When your mother criticizes - what do you say? how do you respond?
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Old 06-26-2006, 12:27 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Mom's got her own problems and insecurities, and she's projecting them on you.

My mom used to do this to my sister all the time -- criticize her about stuff, though not the same stuff as yours -- and I finally (after many years) called her down privately and said "You wouldn't treat a friend that way, would you?" And Mom answered, literally "No -- BUT SHE'S MY DAUGHTER." Sheesh. Situation only really resolved itself when Mom got old (she's in her '80s now) and my sister took over as hospitality head of the family. Of course she won by _becoming Mom_ and she now pushes Mom around just the way Mom used to do her. So that's not a solution I'd recommend!

So what I'd do is what my sister did _before_ she went over to the dark side :-). Keep your own counsel. Don't tell your mother as much about your plans. Start to cut loose from your Mom a little more. If she asks why, tell her the truth: everything she says is negative. But love her and honor her. If she can't accept how you need to be to grow into yourself, that is really her problem.

Because whether she intends to or not, Mom is smothering you. She's trying to keep you close to the nest (at least psychologically) by attacking your confidence in your own decisions. It may have been done to her when she was a kid, and she's passing the hurt onto you because it is the only way she knows. And you may already have taken some of Mom's message to heart.

My favorite bible passage is "The sins of the father are visited upon the sons, unto the tenth generation." Because it's just wisdom: when a person gets damaged in some way and doesn't learn from it, they tend to inflict that same damage onto their own children, and their children repeat the process. Shrinks know all about this. You need to be aware of this to help you cope with mom -- and make sure you're not doing it, yourself.
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Old 06-26-2006, 03:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Actually, blowing up might get her to stop if trying to be tactful hasn't. There's another way though. Without raising your voice, say "I don't want to have this discussion" and if you're in the same room, get up and leave. If you're on the phone, hang up. You're giving her an audience and a response when she does this. Don't give either one-take back your power as an adult. And if she gets pissed off at these reactions, repeat them.
The old adage 'no one can take advantage of you without your permission' applies here.
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Old 06-26-2006, 06:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ngdawg
Actually, blowing up might get her to stop if trying to be tactful hasn't. There's another way though. Without raising your voice, say "I don't want to have this discussion" and if you're in the same room, get up and leave. If you're on the phone, hang up. You're giving her an audience and a response when she does this. Don't give either one-take back your power as an adult. And if she gets pissed off at these reactions, repeat them.
The old adage 'no one can take advantage of you without your permission' applies here.
I like that, actually. Set some boundaries, and enforce them.
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:27 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks. That was really helpful.
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