Dealing with an unsupportive mother

After my last blog post, I received mails, and also some comments that touched upon the fact that the mother-daughter relationship can be an embittered one, and mine was not a unique case. To be honest, I have been crabby for the past few days, the emotions that I thought were buried and gone, resurfaced.

I felt that the time has come to write about this.

The human race has problems that no other species has on this planet. We need to wear clothes, learn how to balance ourselves on two legs to walk, and have the longest childhood. The last makes us astonishingly dependant on our parents. So we need our parent’s approval and desperately crave for it. After all for 20 years or more of our lives, we depend on them for our basic needs.

In an ideal world our mother would care, protect and nurture us, and defend us from hostile forces outside our homes. But then this is not the ideal world.

Here is a questionnaire I have copied verbatim from a book “Will I ever be good enough?” by Karyl McBride that helped me understand what I was going through and also achieve closure (to a certain extent)

Tick all the points that you feel are true of your relationship with your mother – the more you tick, the stronger the syndrome exists. Yes it is a syndrome called the “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”
and if my words ring true, your mother has it.

1. When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
2. When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she she try to top the feeling with her own?
3. Does your mother act jealous of you?
4. Does your mother lack empathy for your feelings?
5. Does your mother only support those things you do that reflect on her as a “good mother”?
6. Have you consistently felt a lack of emotional closeness with your mother?
7. Have you consistently questioned whether or not your mother likes you or loves you?
8. Does your mother only do things for you when others can see?
9. When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce), does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?
10. Is or was your mother overly conscious of what others think (neighbors, friends, family, co-workers)?
11. Does your mother deny her own feelings?
12. Does your mother blame things on you or others rather than own responsibility for her own feelings or actions?
13. Is or was your mother hurt easily and then carries a grudge for a long time without resolving the problem?
14. Do you feel you were a slave to your mother?
15. Do you feel you were responsible for your mother’s ailments or sickness (headaches, stress, illness)?
16. Did you have to take care of your mother’s physical needs as a child?
17. Do you feel unaccepted by your mother?
18. Do you feel your mother was critical of you?
19. Do you feel helpless in the presence of your mother?
20. Are you shamed often by your mother?
21. Do you feel your mother knows the real you?
22. Does your mother act like the world should revolve around her?
23. Do you find it difficult to be a separate person from your mother?
24. Does your mother appear phony to you?
25. Does your mother want to control your choices?
26. Does your mother swing from egotistical to depressed mood?
27. Did you feel you had to take care of your mother’s emotional needs as a child?
28. Do you feel manipulated in the presence of your mother?
29. Do you feel valued, by mother, for what you do rather than who you are?
30. Is your mother controlling, acting like a victim or martyr?
31. Does your mother make you act different from how you really feel?
32. Does your mother compete with you?
33. Does your mother always have to have things her way?

Now, there is nothing you can do to help your mother, who is a grown woman and your parent. There is a lot you can do to protect yourself

1. Put physical distance between the two of you. Move away, to another town or country. That way you are not subjected to negativity all the time. No one needs constant reminder of their weak points. Every one has had downs and every one has character flaws. We do not need another human being to go on harping about them.

2. Keep verbal interactions to the minimum. Do not discuss your life with her. That way, she does not have ammo to hurt you with. Remember, she will not be supportive in your misfortune and you are an adult. You do not need that support which she is either unwilling to extend to you or incapable of extending to you.

3. Do not share your successes with her. She will show the world that she is so proud of your good fortune and achievement, but when alone she will say something nasty. Say, you get a raise. Your mother will brag about it to the world. But once alone she will remind you of the time when you got dumped or were hard of money. Oh it will be couched with the admonishment “Don’t forget the hard times” but you know and she knows that she is resenting your success. If you get a raise, don’t mention it.

4. Keep your friends and your mother separate. Otherwise she will criticize you and discuss your shortcomings with them, all under the guise of being very concerned about you and your “not so bright” future.

5. This comes from point no. 4. Keep your socializing with her very minimum. Do not have joint kitty parties or the same mandir or collectively attend a relative’s wedding. You may be humiliated by her in these social settings. The wounds will resurface long after she is dead and gone.

Hope this works for you. I learnt the hard way.

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118 thoughts on “Dealing with an unsupportive mother

  1. I have not experienced this with my late mother but yes, Dad was another painful story all together! I feel really bad that this has happened to you Ritu! I really wish I could give you a hug, and tell you that follow the new agenda that you have found works with her! your worth does not depend on her valuation of you, espy since she seems not to care as deeply as she could! hold your head hgh and have faith in yourself! God bless

    • Sigh, Dee. My mother expired a few years back, but my sons keep admonishing me. They say I cling to the bad memories of being an unwanted daughter, but then closure is hard to achieve

      • Yes, closure is very hard when the pain keeps haunting you! I wish u had been able to resolve it within her lifetime, but even now it can be worked towards! i have faced this with my late father and also with my brothers(runs in the men ) till today, I am of no significance in their lives! It hurts incredibly! I know what you must feel! One way is to focus on your OWN family! remember they are there for you,and also that we seem to take away their imp by craving love from where it has never been coming! This is wht struck me some months ago when I was crazed by pain! Change the focus, just try Ritu!

      • Yes, I focus entirely on my family – and the love and care I get from them is very rewarding. I have also learned that I can’t tilt windmills or change people – so I don’t even try. It is such a pipe dream and a waste of energy

    • This is not about being over protective. Some mothers feel threatened by their post puberty daughters, and are jealous of them. These feelings come out in insidious ways and harm the daughter and embitter the relationship.

      • I couldn’t agree more. *sigh* – feeling sad and unsupported by the one parent I thought was on my side.

      • This happens with me every single day. I just forget how she taunts me and share my thoughts with her. I should rather be mad at myself for not bringing the change in my own mental setup. 😦

      • It is a very difficult lesson to learn, particularly as we’ve been hardwired to trust and expect nurture

  2. This comes as quite a shocker, Ritu. For one, (naturally) I didn’t know you have gone through so much!! And secondly, I feel awful that the ONE person we trust the most, is the one who hurts us the most!!

    I didn’t have to tick that many points off, so despite all the grudges I have, I would just consider myself lucky to have had a good mum!!

    • Outsiders don’t hurt us because we dont trust them. It is trust that is abused, and what boggles the mind is that the mother in most cases thinks she is a good Mom and she is doing her best! But since she is self centered, she will not even listen to negative feedback and retaliate unpleasantly if you show her the flip side of the coin

  3. Hi Ritu,

    A big Hug to you 🙂 I dont have any to tick off about my Mom…. she is my biggest supporter. But, yes, I have almost all to tick off about my Dad !!!! And its very difficult to distance myself from him because I would also have to keep myself away from my Mom, who is very precious to me. There are times when I hate him sooooo much, but somewhere my upbringing (Mom) makes me keep quiet.

    It sure is a tough life to live !!!!

    Cheers.

    • Agreed, it sure is a tough life to live. I havent heard about fathers suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder …. but then I was focused on my relationship with Mom. I will need to read up about this.

  4. Do most of those things really. And yet there are times, it feels bad, and cannot completely cut her out of my life either…. she needs to be kept in the loop about important things.So yeah! But really, have you been able to cut free completely, I have come a long way, but she still gets on my nerves every now and then. I just hope I don’t turn out to be a mother like her!

    • Learn to listen to your children. That is what helped me because behavior patterns get imprinted and one subconsciously does the same things that one hated in ones parents. My kids told me off once … and of course it hurt, I had their best interests at heart. But I introspected and now consciously try to break the cycle.

      • Yes the behavioral patterns get imprinted but at the same time it is like a tight slap on your own face when the first time you repeat the behavioral pattern…it is a self realization . I hated myself when i yelled like her for the first time …and it was on my husband that i did so…luckily, i realized it the first time itself and could get the trigger sign and train myself to stay away from that.

      • Yes, I am conscious about not wanting to hijack conversations to I -ME – MYSELF and be a good listener. I also empathize. But then the tendency is to go overboard the other way and be a pushover. 😀 It is so funny, walking the tightrope, slipping off at times

      • Yes, I think that is the key, to observe them, pick up their cues, and encourage them instead of imposing my own ideas on them. But, its just that on a day when I tiered, and have had enough for the day, I am likely to get more snappy, and I hate that! Its tough isn’t it? Its cool in a culture like the US, where its the norm to botch about one’s parents, and talk about how they damaged us, but its just so so difficult to talk about it in India, where by default parents are to be put on a pedestal, excused for whatever they, and everything is for ‘our own good’! Hugs Ritu.

  5. You’ve written a very thought provoking post Ritu. My mother and I have never seen eye-to-eye on anything. If I were to answer your questionnaire, I would sink deeper into the doldrums. But I feel that most people don’t see having children as actually more than something they need to do. I am risking rebukes, but I feel 99% of the Indian parents don’t see their children as anything else than just children. The fact that they are human beings who possess a thinking brain does not cross their mind. They have been conditioned that way for years. You pass college, you get a job, get married and produce babies. Why family planning will never work in India is because people don’t think having children is a BIG deal. Bacche he toh hai! Kar lenge ek do saal mein.

    Kids become an identity after marriage because they are left with nothing. There’s only so long you can be ‘newly-wed’. If my mother, who is guilty of practically everything in the questionnaire had, just for two minutes sat down and thought about the fact that her child will be a real person who WILL think on his/her own, she would have waited longer to have her first child. For years, Indian parents have taken it very lightly, this supposed care and responsibility of another human life they call their own. Unfortunately, this continues to be true as I have seen my friends get married after college because ‘isn’t it what we’re supposed to do’?

    We can turn this questionnaire into a redundant piece of fiction if only people would actually think and I mean really think before taking that condom off and add to their family trees. If only they would think…

    • Solah anne sach. Indian parents think of their children as an extension of themselves or puppets. If the puppet has the gumption of chalking out his/her own life, the questionnaire comes true. How dare the children even speak or chose their own career. And if the child decides to pick his/her own life partner … Well! I have heard a father say “Mainey zindagi di hai, le bhi sakta hoon!”

      Children are people too

  6. Although I did tick a few (I thought my ticks will be zero) and my mother is mostly supportive, I have seen such mothers. Once a friend saw my new outfit (in school, so age around 17 ) and said to her mother, “I also want one like this.” Something we all did, but her mother turned to her angrily, and said, “No matter what you wear, you look the same.” she looked so scornful – I have never forgotten that look, my friend is still in touch with me and today we can talk openly about this, she has two lovely daughters and she is very close to them and would never dream of being abusive to them.

    This is a very useful and informative post Ritu. Thank you.

    • IHM this post would not have happened if I had not received a mail from a young follower of my blog. She told me that her mother was jealous because this lady has a wonderful relationship with her mother in law. This mother was trying to sabotage it. We got chatting and she told me that she always felt unwanted and even day dreamed about being an adoptive child … something I have experienced. I wanted her to allow me to put her mail up on my blog but she does not want that. This post is for her and other such women

  7. I ticked a few tooo but my mum has taught me lot of things and i am what i am ..
    dont know if good or bad… good questions I will have t oread all of them again and see how many ticks i get the second time ..

    i do like the ways to help yourself you have mentioned ..

    thank you

  8. Yes Ritu…after your last post some of my buried demons resurfaced too …. and look at this , i was the one who instigated you for that post.

    For the questionnaire , i had 30 ticks against those 33 questions….thought it will come 100% ….. but the question no. 15 , 19 and 21 involved some aspect of my personality too…no i didn’t think that i was responsible for her imaginary problems , i didn’t feel completely helpless ( it is just for the time being i always thought , but unfortunately the time prolonged ) and for Q 21…. i never felt she knew me…she saw me with a tinted glass always…

    Oh ….many question will get double ticks so the ticks are 100% anyways…
    But i believe it is not difficult to be a good mother to your daughter if you have had such a mother…it is all the more reasonable to stay away from those things… i even tested myself if i am feeling any discomfort (or anger) for my daughter even in her most difficult days…i found that i never felt an iota of anger for her , the love was unstoppable …. it’s not true that abused daughters make abusive mothers…

    Hugs Ritu… I unearthed so many pains for you too . This post of yours’ is something i will be recommending to many , whenever possible.

    • My mother loved to see me through some tinted glass too, and when I was just being me, it bothered her a lot. Yeah these are issues that we keep trying to bury … but high time we addressed them, right? We cant go through life carrying unnecessary baggage

  9. Very informative and an eye opener post!! I have a few ticks here…
    I believe, after a while we accept the person and unconsciously (or consciously) follow the rules that you have mentioned!!

    • I am surprised by the number of women who are echoing what I thought was solely my problem. Suddenly I don’t feel abused or an ungrateful bitch who hates her Mom even though she would like to love her

  10. Wow, it’s so nice to see other Indians struggling with the same dilemma. #3 is so true! In college, I remember falling prey to my mom’s coddling and “tell me everything, beti. I will help you” ONLY to have her throw it in my face when I was the most vulnerable.

    The hard part is that a narcissist mom may look like a “typical Indian mom”. When I didn’t know what narcissism was, it was hard to explain to others.

    • OMG! That was the first time I realized that all was not well – I too fell for the same ploy. Sadly I fell for variants of this again and again. I could not understand that Ma would not be the pillar of support that mothers are supposed to be. I am dumb I guess. If I had, I would have spared myself a lot of pain.

      • It feels like we’re dumb, but I think that’s all what we know. N moms do a good job of sheltering us from the outside world and making sure “normals” don’t sniff out that something is wrong. My mom was so against seeing a therapist because she knew a therapist would tell me to get out.

        I’m glad to see other Indian women took a stand against their moms. My mom and ex-boyfriend brainwashed me routinely that good Indian girls are compliant and submissive.

      • No, I never considered a therapist. I thought that the problem lay in me, that I had negative feelings about her. Thing is that she was such a good home maker, such a good hostess and all I saw was the praise that was heaped on her. Of course she always managed to make me feel like a lousy incompetent female. It is only when I started reading about other daughters who had the same resentments as me that I realized what was happening.

  11. Quite a few Ritu, quite a few, have always suspected a degree of NPD in my mom, we’ve had severe problems, she has never acknowledged my successes and yes, she blames me constantly and insidiously. The good news is, whenever I’ve shown her my boundaries, altho’ she’s resisted very strongly, she has backed off often. But yes…there’s no support whatsoever from her emotionally.

    Big hugs. I know. Thanks for this post, it’s brave because we grown-up women are often forced to be loyal to our moms, no matter how badly they treat us.

    • That is it, we have been brainwashed to believe that our mother is some kind of a goddess. She is human just like us … and perhaps has another agenda. And daughters are left grappling with pain and confusion

  12. That is it, we have been brainwashed to believe that our mother is some kind of a goddess. She is human just like us … and perhaps has another agenda. And daughters are left grappling with pain and confusion

  13. Ritu…

    I am so surprised my comment has disappeared. Maybe it never got posted…. my net has been notorious these past few days.

    Your 1-5 were awesome. I learned them the hard way too… too late. And I never managed to articulate them in words… the way you have.

    I shared your blog on my wall. Hope some people came and read this… for they all need healing. And they need to know they arent the only ones who have suffered.

    Hugzz…

    Dagny

    • Dags I’ll check the spam box for the comment …

      Thanks girl, for sharing my post on your wall. It seems that the time was really ripe for such a post. I am a bit overwhelmed by the responses I am getting in my mail box as well as here

  14. Wow, I’d perish if I had someone like that in my life 😦
    But Ritu, kudos to you, you never let the negativity effect your relationship with your kids, you come across as a rockstar mum!
    On mothers, I have a fairy for a mother, my soulmate and my best friend. She has always put us above her own self. I have promised her that in our “next janam” I shall be the mother, to return it all back 🙂

    • That is so sweet. I don’t wanna meet mine again. I guess I sound like a bitch … but its the truth. My kids are wonderful and they have given me such joy. I have loved them wholeheartedly and they have returned the emotion. I guess it does not have to be a self perpetuating cycle

  15. My Cousin has such a mom, feel bad for her because even today my cousin misses the warmth of a mother’s love in her life. She feels quiet unlucky. She doesn’t realize she is so beautiful that her mother literally hates her for being so good looking. I have seen my cousin go through so much unhappiness because of her mom’s attitude. The saddest part being, in spite of being married and staying abroad, whenever she comes for a month to India, she has to follow her mom’s agenda and instead of enjoying her stay she is only meeting ppl her mom wants her too..somewhere her mother still dominates her life and she is helpless in controlling her mom’s high handiness. Though i can sense, how smart and manipulative my aunt is, i can not directly tell my cousin that its her mom’s insecurity that’s screwing up her life. Somewhere, i feel my cousin is still waiting for her mother to like and love her..last when she met me a year back, she was like, “today my mom called, she said she wanted to meet me alone for lunch and spend some time with me” Gosh my poor cousin was so taken aback and happy…It seems this was the first time her mother had ever said something like this to her in10 yrs of her married life, though they still cud not meet because as usual her mom was busy with her schedule. You won’t believe my aunt has raised her with so much do’ s and don’t s that even now my cousin does not have the guts to take decision’s when she has to buy something that’s expensive, like gold, silk dresses etc..she feels her mom’s choice is the best and she is the expert.The list is endless..

    • I know this so bloody well! I could only talk about this three years after her death. It has been the love and understanding I have got from my sons and daughter in law that has healed me. Oh I come through as confident, but most of the confidence began as rebellion. My one point agenda in life was “How not be grow up and become my Mom” Ironic isn’t it, how much it can affect even grown women?

    • Wow, sounds like me! As embarrassing as it is to admit, it was easier for my mom to make decisions because I was so overwhelmed with anxiety on whether I was making the right choice. Finding your true self can be more difficult than doing what others want you to do.

  16. Ritu,
    is this a case of a woman being another woman’s enemy minus the men in equation?
    is comparison not latent in each relationship?..how much my daughter/sis has and how much i had? my daughter is so much more educated/loved/liked by her in-laws and mine was a sob story.in many relationships,as in this,
    how one accepts others roses when ur path has always been strewn with thorns?

    if you look at it,this pattern is seen mostly in girls who are broadminded/radical and were mostly a student of english lit (it overturns notions,exhorts them to question conventions.such women are strong ,oppose conventions and are mostly against their traditionalist mothers.)
    strong women always have unhappy marriages and share crossed relationships with traditionalist parents and inlaws.On the flip side,they make gr8 mothers because of their understanding of human nature and strength of personality.
    do you think this is particular mostly to girls who study literature?
    i wud like to think so.

    • A case of putting the cart before the horse, I think. I have lived in a girl’s hostel during my graduation. Honestly speaking I found girls with fucked up relationships with their mothers more open and definitely more interesting. They also have the tendency to pick up non-feminine and non-traditional courses and careers. They rebel against their mothers and reject their own feminine side in the beginning, which leads to non-traditional choices. Once they get comfortable with their own sexuality, they settle down to build great relationships with their families, spouses and female friends. All this fight makes them strong. I know women engineers, women in field jobs, a couple of hot shots in event management …. they are awesome ladies, once you get you know them. I had English literature through graduation and post graduation … it made me keenly interested in knowing what a person thought and how it made the person behave – it also made me the person who wrote this post. But I dont know if I can say that it made me the rebel I am. The credit for that I give my mother

      • I agree absolutely on this….not only English literature students , anyone going on for higher studies i think …going on to make their own opinions…analyzing human behavior et al….

  17. Glad you brought this up. And here I thought I was the only one 😉

    29/33. For a long time, I hadnt even realised that that’s where the narcissm comes from. Last few months I’ve been digging into and trying to fix things. First approach was to try and build a warm, friendly relationship with my mom. That fell quite flat 😉

    Over the last few weeks I was just coming to the same conclusion – the 5 points you mention above.

    I wish it were different. I’ve spent the last 30 yrs trying to get approval and wishing things were different. Its difficult to accept that there are some things you cant change, some relationships that you cant mend. But the good part is, now the healing begins.

    • First of all put a distance, physical and emotional between the two of you. (I wish I could have … we lived together for the last ten years of her life). Establish boundaries and show your displeasure when she oversteps them. Daughters of an NPD mother are programmed to be over-eager to please. Stop looking for approval, you will never get it, so show anger if she criticizes you or humiliates you. She will yell, enlist your sibling or relatives help and interference to ensure that you – her captive slave are still in her clutches. Do not fall for such manipulation. I do not see any time during which you will be good friends or have a warm relationship. But you will sleep easier and when you do meet, you may be civil to each other

  18. Hi Ritu,
    Although this didnt come as a surprise to me but yes it did give me a chance to introspect myself as a mum to my ‘now grown up adults’ whom I have never tried to possess. Yes a few of the questions were a Yes for me too and vow !!!, better late than never is all what I can think, actually few gestures are made just as a habbit pattern without thinking at it from all possible angles. I really wish my daughters to read this and post their comments .

    Luv,

      • Darling Ritu,
        Make completion with yourself is the only thing I will tell you to do, otherwise you are
        100% complete as a human being. Why look for validations from me or in fact from
        anyone?. One more suggestion we can also complete with departed souls and to
        forgive is actually divine.
        Love You too

      • To forgive is the only way to survive and be at peace. Writing this was my first step towards healing. One has to first accept, and then let it go … Hence this post. I also hope that I have helped others in a similar bitter situation

  19. *Hugs*
    A few ticks here too… A rebel that I am.. I got a cycle also named ‘rebel’ during my school days… Well, in my case.. she had to go through her own set of problems such as depression due to which she had no choice but to ignore me..
    I never knew how to label my emotions.. but then.. learning it the hard way I think is what made us what we are.

    • I feel that our angst against our mothers makes us rebels, but look at the positive side. It frees us from the burden of getting approval, though deep inside one still hankers for it. It frees us and then the world is our oyster ….

  20. Ritu,this is your most introspective and best post ever.More so,because it liberated me by breaking my self-fettered chains.For a long time in my life i had low confidence and thought myself a failure,having differences with my mother,the prime influence in any child’ life.
    she never questioned the status quo,which i always did,and was made an outcast.
    my half life thus passed in negotiating my identity,and now its immensely painful to put past behind,precisely because it made me what i am today,the ghost hovers and needs effort everytime i want to exorcise it.A task which in a way,makes me fight with my own emotionional past burden i now carry.
    you have learnt a lot from your life.
    i divergent post,but very insightful. THANK YOU

  21. I think a parent child relation goes thru many ups and downs… most of us hate our mothers at some point, idolize her at some point, my relation with my mum has also gone thru that, infact I said yes to more questions here than I would have thought I would but than its how we behaved at some point of time in a 35yr old life… we have fought we have accepted and we have made peace with each other… I think its also because of the fact that the more I grew up the more I understood what she had gone thru bringing up three daughters and also when I became a mum I realised that if I can too many grudges against her it will show up in my parenting….

    great post and hugs

    • Mons, you are very right. Most of the time relationships go through stormy times and mellow ones. Some of them unfortunately are embittered and troubled through out. It is only then that one starts questioning them and looking for reasons why they are the way they are.

      Glad that yours is a balanced normal one.

      A mother-daughter bond can be the most enriching one.

  22. I have been following those guidelines for a long time now 🙂
    My mother had been better for a while, but now she is rebounding to the way she was when I was a kid. I don;t know what to do, I would like to move out but I am still not that mature or independent enough.
    PS: I had no idea this behavior had a name =/

    • It does, but treat it with caution Shimmer. From your comment you are still young. Go through the questionnaire, tick off the questions that you think you agree with. Do not allow your emotions to cloud your judgement. Please be careful. The young are emotional and hyper. Dont label someone without being sure.

  23. it feels nice to have someone understand what i hav been going through. thank u 🙂
    ppl usually scoff off when u cmplain about ur mother, sayin ” all she wants is to do the best fr u” or “she’s ur mother, she loves u” .
    I agree, but that cant be true all the time, she is no super being is it.. mothers are also humans, n they have their own traits. I knw my mother loves me, but I only dont get why she stops herself from showin it.

    once again, thank u 🙂

    • No, Moms are not goddesses. They are people too and they have their favorites among their own kids, their quirks and their moods. Sadly NPD Moms have their negative traits ….

  24. I am thankful to have a Mom, who made some mistakes, but always intended the best for me. But as a mother, I am scared of making worse mistakes.
    What if in trying to do our best, we hurt those whom we love the most?

    • Hey we are human, we make mistakes. But once children grow up and question, they also sense our intentions. What we need to do is be open to them, listen to them and treat them as individuals and unique personalities that have the rights and the approval to chalk their own path. Then we can’t go wrong

  25. Seems like you wrote the story of my life…The one who should nurture literally back stabs you… I had no idea this syndrome had a name. and I wish I had known you a couple of years back for the wonderful advice you offer…would have saved me a lot of emotional attyachar!! My only reason to move out of the country was her…I stopped sharing my successes… I talk to her bare minimum, she doesn’t know any of my friends in the past 10 years and all the old ones she knew I deliberately lost touch with..(so she can’t trouble them and their families). Heck, I never told her that I am married for the past 5 years and have a beautiful toddler! It sometimes hurts that I cannot share it with her, but I know the consequences would be terrible….As someone said, my biggest fear is that someday unconsciously I would turn into her….that would be the end of the world for me.

    • Oh my God! What can I say? I would advise therapy for you my girl! Please take my suggestion seriously. One does have the danger of slipping into the same kind of behavior … Think, your mother lost you, she lost the pleasure a grandchild can give her. You don’t want the same thing to happen with you. I can understand the extent to which she must have gone for you to sever all ties with her. Its rough, but its not the end of the world – its the beginning of a new life

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  27. 24/33! Is there really nothing to be done other that what you have outlined? I already follow the 5 steps, and I have learnt it the hard way as well. I suppose this kind of thing will stay forever, and bubble up once in a while.

    • @Fem, I lost my mother four years back … and can say that I have still not achieved closure … I think this will stay with me forever

  28. 29/33
    My first reaction is WOW. I knew the problem areas in my case much before and always felt guilty of assigning the term “jealous” with her as I felt it is not right on my part to do so. Just reading this post has brought tears to my eyes 🙂 I never knew there is a term like this which could be associated with such a behaviour.

    I have accepted this problem and have been dealing with it nicely till now. Hoping the same for future too. But yes there are many moments when I want to ask her WHY? and sing that song from TZP [ Main kabhi……]. On the other hand I am glad about it as this assures I will never do this to my children in future bcoz I know exactly where it hurts and how badly!!

    I came here through IHM’s blog and after reading all this I could not resist commenting on the same.

    Thanks so much for such a wonderful post.

    • “Why?” Yeah, there is a little girl inside all of us that can’t help but ask why …
      Possibly that is our lot in life. Glad that you liked the post, hope it helped

  29. Really good one & realist especially very first step to read.

    Frankly speaking, let me follow these suggestions in my LIFE.

    Regards, Mayuresh Redkar.

  30. Gosh Ritu…I never wanted to confront with the simmering feelings. Every time I tried, I was told, “How can you talk like this about your own mother? How ungrateful can you be?”

    I cannot distance myself from her. After dads demise I am the only one she has. And I would rather concentrate on the ones I did not tick to maintain peace and sanity.

    • Alka, I was the only one with her after my father’s death. In fact her head was in my lap and I was trying to get her to drink water when she died. But it truly was just filial duty that I was performing. Our relationship was dead and gone – if it had ever been a positive one ever

  31. Riiight…
    And so what do you do if you are still of a younger age? I know a friend who scored a perfect score! Man! What a life!
    He is my classmate and feels like the girl in the house, as he says..Kya kiya jaaye!

    • The first step is to protect yourself. One can you know. I lived with my mother all my life (almost). Do not bring friends home, keep social life separate. Do not accompany the abusive parent to any kind of social set up. Keep their lives and yours in two separate compartments. And move out, the first opportunity you get!

  32. Dear Ritu,your effort is great,I got 90% ticked off,and sadly all my family members ,mom,dad ,brother and sister are like this,I wish I should have see your blog some time ago,I have applied all your points 1 to 5 without even reading it,so you should have got my picture,I too want to share my experience so that others could be helped,

    Though majority of the things were done by my mom , my other family members have a good share ,she always made me feel guilty,some times praises me ,again for the same incident belittles me,makes me feel I am good for nothing,though I am very good at lot of things even better than her,tried to ruin my marriage,my kids,career,health,social relationships mainly at parties,badmouthing about me at the family circle,confused me all the time,makes me feel guilty when she falls sick,spying on my every activity,make me suffer like hell in my life transitions

    I should say I feel breathing after cutting every sort of relationship with her,I really don’t want to see her again in my life

    I don’t know whether I could include few of my friends ,,possesed same traits as my mom,having first hand knowledge from my mom nature,I immediately cut them off as they did few things to me exactly the way my mom did,though got tortured by their acts ,felt so clear and happy after being away from them

    No ,I am not going to be like my mom,I am noticing all the negative things done by her

    while I am parenting my own kids, thank you again

    • Sorry to hear that. An experience like this may shake your confidence and undermine your self worth – in the beginning. But you have all the time in the world to rebuild yourself. And yes we do chose the persons who are similar to our immediate family to be friends. It is a cycle. Glad you moved away from such people who you felt were harmful to you as a person. It shows a very positive trait in you, as well as self awareness. Carry on, bravely. You are aware of this and so the cycle will break

  33. I don’t know if you’ll ever read this but that today I told my mom that instead of graduating in August like I planned due to a financial setback (which I am paying for by myself) I need to drop some classes this summer semester to lighten the load. I then have to wait until December to graduate with my BS in Psychology. She wasn’t very thrilled. I knew she was going to be upset/mad and I told her I was sorry that I couldn’t graduate in August and that I am trying my hardest and do the best I can in everything that I do to make them proud. She read the text and all I got was an Ok. She was never gave my sister and I encouraging words when we fail at something. I just had to find it in me to keep on going because no one else would cheer me on. The only times that I would feel that she was someone how proud of us is when we accomplish something worth bragging to her friends about. I just found your blog and read other people’s comments and I thought I should share my experience.

  34. I am going through a very difficult time as well with my mom. My dad passed July 22, 2015. I loved, loved, loved my dad dearly. We had a fantastic relationship we would vacation together; my dad lived in the Caribbean for the past 10 years as he retired there with my mom. My mom hated it, she loves the states. I was on vacation with dad when he passed in my mothers arms while drinking his morning coffee. After my dads untimely death my mom has become extremely unsupportive.My mom came home with me and she decided to stay with my brother; she claims that I need space. Im so hurt as her and my brother don’t call or care to be with me.

    I realize I overreacted twice because my mom just wanted to get rid of all my dads belongings immediately. She has called a few family members stating that I’m crazy, out of control and that I need professional help. Ive been married for 20 years and my husband and I are in total disbelief over my mother’s unsupportive ways and when she called him to tell him that I need professional help. My husband told her that I’m hurting and what I need is family support and comfort not judgement.

    My mom of course got upset because he did not side with her. Ive been with the lord and maintaining my internal peace. My dad told me before he passed that this will happen once he closes his eyes because my mom wanted to divorce him and she felt miserable in the caribbean island. He left us a gorgeous home in which I feel that my mother and brother want to sell it. Im so sad, but I shall remain with the truth and strong within. Thanks for listening to me as Im learning to express via blogging. Thanks again

  35. God, almost all “Yes”. I felt so hurt when I’m around my mother. She always threat me like I am a parasite in her life. I did 4 of 5 things to safe myself, except point 1. I moved out from home 2 years ago, and my life is became happier. But a few months ago, i lost my job so, I moved in back with my mom again. My life getting miserable ever since. I really want to move out again very soon.

    I just found your post, and now I feel like I’m not alone.
    Thank you

    • All of that I guess, but basically I think this sort of mother has problems of her own which she is unable to deal with

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