Motherhood and Grown Up Sons

When I was not yet twenty, I brought my first-born son home. I sat the whole night watching him sleep, get up, stretch, yawn, poop and pee, simply fascinated. I was in love, and how! No one, nothing mattered. It was just me and the little man! I decided that everything could wait, life could wait, I could wait until he turned into an adult and then parenting would be over.

Parenting Grown-Up Kids - Parent-Adult Son Relationship - mom and kids

 

Oh, how wrong that was!

Now first-born is almost 30, the second one is right now on his very first tour in his very first job. The train is about 7 hours late and I am sitting at work agonizing about his safety, praying that his first tour is wildly successful and that he nails the work he has gone for. I also pray that he gets a good hotel room and can sleep well at night.

The life of a mother with grown up kids.

Read the rest here

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Dear God ji, I want to be born a woman again

The belief in reincarnation is implicit in our faith.  We seem to have this blind faith that we will not get it right the first time, or even many times, and are doomed to take birth again… and again … and again

Talk about failing so many times in the same class.  At least the gizmos, the technology and stuff changes – or one so hopes.

But do we get to be born as the same sex or even human again?  I kind of hope so.  Hence the prayer :

Dear God ji I want to be born a woman again.

Here I am not being original, we even have a  soap called “Agley Janam Mujhe Bitiya hi Keejo”

I don’t have anything against men.  I am as heterosexual as they come, and I appreciate my sons, who are very masculine, uff they are men, what to do.  In fact if they think I am going out of limits or DIL is, they don’t hesitate to air their views, in no uncertain terms.

It is just that in my world view women hold the centre stage.  Helen of Troy caused a huge war.  Cleopatra was one kickass queen.  Draupadi is far more interesting than the rest of the characters.  Mayhem, blood anarchy … it is just what my soul craves for.  No – not to be in the thick of the fight, but to be the cause of it, perhaps.

I find Ma Kali the most fascinating of all the gods in the pantheon. I am her huge fan, all my prayers are addressed to this epitome of female strength.

Women power … The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The patriarchy and the Khaaps fear us, and rightly so.  We are the power that moves them, we are the sex that gives birth to the next generation and we are what they desire.  Yayyy to womanhood.

Having said that, recently I have had issues with someone I call the Mother-in-law from Hell.  Of course this person pretends to be

1. Not a Mother in Law

2. Not a woman (at times)

3. A crusader

I take objection.  I love being a woman, am proud to be one

I have a very high opinion of women, they are ferocious when messed with. Darling Crusader, admit it – you are female.  And your little toy/puppet/son has left you for his wife.  And its got your goat.  Your ferocity is proof enough.  So are the six comments in my spam queue.

Sorry dear, I did not read the six of them, I just skimmed through.  My Papa always told me not to read rubbish.  It pollutes the mind.

I admire your tenaciousness, your ferocity.  In my eyes your pain makes you great, an epic figure.  Kind of like a Greek tragedy where a person immolates himself or herself for a lost cause.

The young will leave the old and build their own nest. It is the universal law.  Will you, like a besotted fool scream in the face of universal laws?

I hope not.  Faaltu ka drama.

You have within you power – female power.  Rise above this and do something great.  Dying of heart-break is not great – it is for silly fools.

Everyone has adversities in life , and everyone has had heart breaks, self included.  So what did we do? We just picked ourselves up and re-invented ourselves.  Women can do that so easily.  We can be girls, mothers, sexy sirens, office workers and so many other things.  Cooks, news reporters … oh the possibility is endless.  The actress in us can be satisfied with the drama of all these roles.

Did I say I love being a woman?  Well I say that once again.  To be a woman in these times is the very best!  Educated, independent and self driven.

Do I sound patronizing?  What to do?  Your big tragedy of sons leaving their parents for wives and their own kids does not sound worth the hullabaloo you create.  It sounds like the mentality of an obsessed stalker.  Do you do that?  Missed calls, anonymous letters, stalking the son and his wife on various social sites, even visiting the son’s office?  Ooops have I given you ideas, dear?

Yes women are bitches too – self included. I love that trait in me.

And I am independent, busy and do not like being spammed by comments like yours.  I do not like being called names, especially by rank strangers who are pathetic losers and do not have the guts to write under their own names.  Pathetic cowards.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION :

1. I am single, I have not met any man who can convince me to sacrifice my precious independence.  Son Snatcher I am not!  I decided my ex hubby was not worth fighting for.  He could continue to be his darling mother’s infant.  Good riddance to bad rubbish.

2. I built my own home, with my own money, and gave my sons a loving home.  I can not be called a home breaker.

3. The third letter called me EVIL WOMAN.  Hmmmm I kind of like that.  It has a certain zing to it, power even.  Good is insipid and does not have the same fire does it?  So thank you.

Furthermore, I am a proud woman, and I will report any malicious mails that slander me and my family henceforth to the cyber crime cell.  Consider yourself warned.  I don’t make empty threats.  I am tenacious and definitely more in touch with my power than you and do not lack courage.

I blog under my name, I do not hide behind identities and send stupid mails to people. I stand by my word.

I am a woman and love being one.

I AM STRONG.

Dear God ji!  This navratri, I pray for the feminine strength of Ma Kali.  I have found my rakshasa (demon) to slay.  And yes, agley janam mujhe bitiya hi keejo.

Yours truly

The One and Only Ritu Lalit

 

My Victory Dance

Well I tried, and I tried and tried to be a saint, to not dance a victory dance over the ashes of painful memories

Naah Forget It!

This is my victory dance, and I am dancing it.

And if I step on toes, break a few bones, draw some blood, it does not matter. I have to have my dance.

I HAVE SURVIVED

To the person who told me that my sons would grow up to be losers, since they did not have a Dad –

You misjudged me and you misjudged my boys. I never said that your kids would not amount to much – but they have NOT! Why? They had a mom and dad! They should have been like Sachin Tendulkar or Shah Rukh Khan, since they did not have a broken home.

I did not tell you to STFU then, but you made me cry. You made me sit up nights staring at the boyish figures asleep in bed and wonder if what you said was right. To be afraid that may be what you said would come true.

Humph!

To the person who said “Ek din muh chupa kar royegi, koi aansu ponchne wala bhi nahin hoga” just because I listened to the boys and believed in their dreams instead of being negative about them. I am laughing, I am smiling, I am living with them in their dreams. And of the dreams that did not succeed – well we lived them too. I have not hidden my face and wept, I have never needed to.

Any crying and full on drama that happens at the Phoenix House happens openly. Oh we have wars – but no heartaches. Even at the peak of temper we know we love each other and belong to the same family.

To the person who thought I give my sons too much bhav and they would grow up spoilt and pampered. That these boys I adore would use me and throw me. Hey they are my sons, and they love me as much as I love them, so fuck you.

And to the various suitors/prospective husbands who thought, rather expected that I should

a) Give them my complete salary
b) Bring up their kids
c) Send my boys to hostels because their kids came first
d) Look after their parents and leave mine

All for the dubious advantage of having a husband – what for, I don’t know

Look me in the face and answer the question

Did you really think I was dumb?

And

Who’s the WO – MAN eh?

This victory dance is because now both my sons have graduated, got good degrees and have reached adulthood without being delinquents, commitment phobic men, drug addicts or alcoholics INSPITE OF ALL THE FUCKINGLY CREEPY PREDICTIONS MY SO CALLED FRIENDS AND WELL WISHERS DISHED OUT

The Great Indian Parent

Are we “The Great Indian Parent Association” doing the right thing as per our children?  Now with news stories coming out everyday about the horrific pattern of abuse I wonder.

I come from a time when all children were voiceless, right less and parents were Gods.  So were teachers.  We were routinely spanked, had our mouths washed with soap if we used curse words, and even locked up in bathrooms.  The moment an adult decided that my brother and I were too cheeky for our good, we were thrashed, yelled at and, if we were lucky, locked in the bathroom.  What the parents did not know was that there was a stash of comics and novels kept in the skylight just for such occasions … but then I digress.

The point I am trying to make here is that, from time immemorial, adults react to kids developing a spine by imposing authority, sometimes in a most brutal way.  It is a power thing.  The adult has it, and the kid cant earn, is dependent on the adult in myriads of ways – for food, shelter, education, clothes, so the poor tyke is weak.  Its so easy to bully the weak isnt it?

If we are honest, we will admit have been bullied, our self esteem broken in so many ways.  If I compare us with non-Indian, heck non-Asian kids, I find us weak, having no self esteem.  Swami Agnivesh says that he drank his own pee to stop bed wetting.  The mind boggles.  And Twitter, as usual goes on overdrive with Agnivesh jokes.

But if you think about it carefully, what made him punish himself like that?  May be he thought that he had to take away his dignity to feel as though he was dong penance for an error….

Not that bed wetting is a deliberate act which requires a punishment.

Some months earlier, the newspapers screamed themselves hoarse about a parent who forced his daughter to beg, because she did poorly in school. Its the same pattern, hurt a child’s self esteem, take away the right to be human and free.  Impose your bloody and harsh parental authority.

I was a girl when a friend of mine eloped.  Her father was livid.  His statement still makes me shudder “Maine jaan di hai, le bhi sakta hoon.”  Translation “I have given her life, I can take it too.”

From there its a tiny step to become a person who kills his daughter for honour – whose honour I do not know.  I for one would not like to call it something so polite.  Its murder and it should be called murder.

And then when we have such skewed notions of parenting and honour, we become teachers and parents.  Parents brought up in such ethos go ahead and give teachers the carte blanche for disciplining the kids.  We have spiritual (?) leaders like Agnivesh (who come from the same system) and ask what is wrong in dispensing such barbaric justice and using such horrific measures for discipline.

The warden who gave the disgusting punishment is not wrong

The father who made the girl beg is not wrong

Neither is the joker Swami Agnivesh.

There is something wrong with us collectively.  We are a nation of cowardly bullies.  We find it easy to impose our brutal authority on those weaker than us.  When we see someone stronger and more powerful, we cower and back away.

It is cyclic.  We were broken by our elders, and in turn we dish out exactly what we got.

We have to learn better.  It is only then that these headlines wont scream out from newspapers.  But who is going to teach us?

 

De-stressing on Mother’s Day

Sometimes I think that we, as a nation are too earnest.  We seem to think that we have to strive solemnly and earnestly for perfection – which is a laugh since life itself is gloriously imperfect.  If it were not, I would have gone insane with boredom.  Take motherhood for instance.  It is a messy, painful and tiring thing.  Anyone who has had to clean car seat covers of puke, wipe snot and change diapers will agree.  Of course it has its rewards, when the kids are pre-puberty they do look at you as though you are a goddess.  Sadly that phase does not last.  Know something?  I would trade that for the adult kids phase.  Small kids can be oh so annoying and clingy.  I teamed up with Sagarika Chakraborty and we decided to play the antithesis of the filmy Ma.  There were some stock questions mothers ask, and we replied to them at the Write Up Cafe

Here is the link : http://www.writeupcafe.com/Writeups/1/2089/de-stressing-the-mothers-in-dist

Amelia Curzon is a blogger and author and has been kind enough to host me on her blog.  I am a guest blogger for the week.  Do check that out too

http://ameliacurzonblogger.wordpress.com/

This is what she writes

This week, I am very pleased to welcome my Guest Blogger Ritu Lalit Author Ritu Lalit with her amusing recollections of her son’s wedding. A catalogue of disasters occurs, which I’m sure many of us can relate to, when fate intervenes and destroys even the best laid plans.

Thanks Amelia.  I read the reviews of your book on Amazon.  Cant wait to get my copy

 

 

 

Some common parental beliefs

tujhe suraj kahun ya chanda
tujhe deep kahun ya taara
mera naam karega roshan
jag men mera raaj dulaara

Translation

Should I call you sun or moon

Should I call you lamplight or stars

You’ll light up my name

In this world my darling babe …

I was watching Sony Mix and this song came up.  I have heard this song in my childhood, and loved the emotion and depth of love Manna Dey put into the lyrics.  That was then and this is now …

My sons are Cesarean births.  I was fully conscious albeit kind of trippy for both births and I saw them being taken out of my tummy.  I remember thinking it pretty symbolic when the doctor cut the umbilical cord.  It, to me, symbolized that here was a baby, another person … who had his/her life to lead.

I think I led mine and built my own identity, and reputation.

It would be pathetic if all that I built and created depended on someone so much my junior to uphold or besmirch….

I can feel pride and joy in their achievements

Or shame if they transgress boundaries and err

Grieve if they get hurt

But its all about them – not me

In short – its their lives

Is it not?

 

To all you Mommy Bloggers out there

Tbg tweeted this yesterday

#NationalJewels @phoenixritu Best Mommy a boy could have

To say I am flattered would be an understatement 😉 ; but then it made me wonder about the kind of mothers there are in this world …

Okay first a disclaimer : Mommies this is not about you, its about the other Mommy okay plus it is an over the top post so chill!

1. Mera Baby Perfect Mommy :

She is rose bespectacled, her baby is the perfect angel that does not throw up milk, is a good eater, meets all the milestones well within time, sleeps through the night, and does not fuss!  Yes, yes we know this paragon of virtue only exists in the mind of the fond Mama.
But have you even considered how much heartburn this lady inspires in other struggling mothers?  She corners all the bragging rights Gaaaaah!

 

2. The Fanaa Mommy

This poor thing went to pieces the moment she birthed a baby.  Her house looks like a typhoon hit it, meals are not cooked or burnt, everything is mismanaged.  If you try to talk to her, she bursts into tears or a litany of complaints.  Chill Mommy, its just a baby, too small a person to have a nervous breakdown about.

 

3. The PHD Mommy

The one who comes up to you and starts asking questions, may be 1000 questions about your baby … not because she is interested in your bundle of joy; simply because she does not want to read a book – her research is conducted by interviewing other Moms.  She does not divulge any information about her baby.  Litmus Test : Start asking her questions about her baby – she is sure to latch on to another mother.

 

4. The Lecturer Mommy

These ones are easy to spot by their initial question to a perfect stranger in a mall or a park “So is this your first?’  If you nod, unsolicited advise will start coming your way.  Since their baby has been born before yours, it gives them the licence to lecture you ….

 

5. The Main Bechari Mommy

The bang opposite of the Mera Baby Perfect Mommy.  She whines, is completely depressed.  She will moan about such things like … the baby is unmanageable, the in laws and husband are un-supportive, she is constantly tired, she looks a mess etc etc.  You kind of start wondering what would happen to her if she had twins 😛  Actually when my kids were small I kind of liked having one of these Mommies around me, it made feel good about myself.

And then there are these types – as seen by kids who are no longer infants :

The Hisaabi Mummy : Maine tere liye itna kiya, badle mein kya mila?

Dhamki Waali Mummy : Aane do Papa ko, phir teri akal thikani lagegi

Historical Mummy : Tere umar ki thi to poora ghar sambhalti thi

Gumshuda Mummy : Pata nahin kahan rakh dete ho cheezen, kuch nahin milta time se

The Sherlock Holmes Mummy : Ten on ten?   Zaroor cheating kari hai!

The Seer :  I knew it, I knew it!  I told you earlier, it would break/get lost/get stolen …

Smartass Mummy : In reply to the question : Where is my …. whatever?.. she snarls, “Am I google or what?”

I do this very often 😛

Selfish Mummy : (After you have done something particularly selfless like donating blood) Khila Pila kar blood banaya tha, and you donated it?

The Don Mummy : Get off the phone/computer or, alternatively, Turn off the television/music nahin to aag laga doongi!

I do this very often too  😛

The Filmy Mommy  : She watches daily soaps avidly, cries buckets when a mother – son crisis happens in movies or the aforementioned soaps, will support and shield her children from Daddy rages and feed them goodies.  Somewhere in her heart of hearts, she will long to mouth dialogues like Mere Karan Arjun ayenge, zaroor ayenge.  She is longing for that champion who validates her Mommyhood…. and heavens help the hapless daughter in laws who weaken that bond!

 

 

Marriage – the Great Indian Scam

Again IHM set me off. Her very insightful post is the catalyst –

The stages in a woman’s life

1. Birth

Mubarak Ho Jee, Laxmi padhari hai (Translation : Congratulations, the Goddess of Wealth has taken birth). Every one smiles and laddoos are distributed. But the grins are muted, since most parents know that this Goddess of Wealth has come to not shower wealth on them but to wipe out their bank balances. They have to feed her, clothe her, educate her, and then dower her and pack her off to her in-laws. It is a thankless labor. Now if a son had been born, they would have had a dhol wala beating the dhol outside the nursing home, the laddoos would have been of desi ghee. They would have looked forward to his chola (the day the infant is clothed in new clothes) when all relatives would feast. The baby boy’s mundan ceremony would have been lavish, just like a mini-wedding feast. And the expense for all this would not pinch them ever …. After all, the son has been born!

2. Childhood

The fond parents dress up the girl in nice lacy frocks. She is discouraged from shinnying up trees or playing boisterous games. Scarred knees and competitive sports with other kids will make her assertive. Assertive girls don’t make docile brides. Instead subtle programming of the girl commences. She is gifted dolls. (Wish they gifted dolls that peed and pooped so that the girl would have a good idea as to what she is in for!). She is encouraged to love them. If she makes tea, lavish praise is bestowed on her. Of course she is encouraged to excel in school. After all, she will have to help her kids with home work. Besides these days grooms like the additional salary the wife brings home. Oh if she has excess energy, she will be enrolled into Bharat Natyam or Kathak classes. It makes the girl graceful. Boys on the other hand, can run around the colony, play cricket and hockey. They can raid the guava tree for fruit and play marbles and fly kites. If they get into fights and come home with a blackened eye, mothers will defend them. They normally are too tired to study by the end of the day. Never mind, boys will be boys.

3. Teenage

The day the girl gets her first period, the mother goes into depression. Swear she does. She is terrified. The father is tense. All the boys in the neighborhood scare the poor parents. They start clipping her wings. Curfew is imposed; the girl needs to be home during day light. She is encouraged to stay at home, learn how to cook, sew. At the very least, she needs to know how to make one dhal, one sabzi and boil rice. She is taught how to stitch on a button on a shirt. Now they start verbally programming her, “Beta these skills will come in handy when you get married.” And the other favorite of parents “Who will marry a girl who does not know how to ……” No one thinks of teaching a boy any skill to get married. He is a boy, after all. All he needs to know is how to pee standing up. And of course how to earn. For that he is being sent to school and college.

4. Higher Studies and Career

If a girl wants to take up a career oriented course that is non-traditional, she is discouraged. Hell, she is even discouraged from pursuing a super-expensive course for her higher studies. The argument is, “We will have to spend so much money on getting her married, so why?” Her brother can, after all, he is a son. The same road block is put up when she wants to pursue a demanding career, especially one that entails late hours and traveling. “It is not suitable for girls” is the argument. Why? Because it is hard to find husbands for such girls.

All through this scam, perpetuated by the family on the hapless girl, she has been programmed to see marriage as the ultimate goal in life. She is also programmed to see her parents as the ultimate sacrificing gods who are providing for her, feeding her, clothing her and even giving her an adequate dowry for her marriage.

Never does it occur to the poor sacrificial lamb to stop and consider:

i. Her brother got more liberties than her.
ii. He got to go to a more expensive college
iii. He got a car/scooter/motorcycle and she had to make do.
iv. She had to cook, learn how to help her mother alongside her studies. Of course it came under the guise of learning how to run a home. Wasn’t that manipulation? Wasn’t that unpaid service?
v. They, (the parents) have spent equal if not more on the son of the house. So what is she supposed to be obligated about?

5. Marriage

Most girls are extremely happy when they are getting married. Why not? This is what they have been programmed for since birth! The dolls, the tiny kitchen sets, the darling little ovens and pretty frilly aprons etc etc., were all not so subtle hints to what their lives hence forth was going to comprise of – being kitchen slaves – oh okay, lets be politically correct and call them home-makers. And they are just in their twenties. Poor innocent darlings, these sacrificial lambs!

Now comes the very modern twist. They are supposed to cook and clean. But then they are also supposed to bring salaries to the home coffers, by working. Now the back breaking slavery starts – they get up in the morning, cook, clean, rush to office, compete with men and women, get back home. On the way, they shop for vegetables, the groceries etc. Get home and get back to house duties.
And then they have kids ….. They could not opt out of marriage, how can they opt out of having kids? It is what they have been programmed to do – you know have homes, husband and kids!

Even if the husband does not participate actively ….

It never occurs to him to do so.

He has been programmed not to!

That is why I call Marriage the Great Indian Scam perpetuated by parents and society to keep the youth of this country completely unhappy and on edge.

Desi Girl says

Marriages are sold to women in a glossy cover, remember once a woman got married she got to wear good clothes and jewelry that was forbidden for single women.

It gave her a free license to talk about sex and sleep with a man who everyone assumed would love her.

For all these benefits all she had to do was cook, clean, make babies and keep every one happy.

Yes in lieu of her services she is provided a roof over her head, food and protection from other predatory men.

I agree up to a point …

I have seen non-desi men happy single and solvent. I have seen non-desi women happy single and solvent too. Folk who want to get married get married. Others don’t. And the folk who get married because they want to – are happy with their choices too. If they are not, they get divorced … with no stigma attached.

We seem to have a crab mentality. Crab mentality is defined by Wikipedia as

Crab mentality, sometimes referred to as crabs in the bucket, describes a way of thinking best described by the phrase “if I can’t have it, neither should you.” The metaphor refers to a pot of crabs. Individually, the crabs could easily escape from the pot, but instead, they grab at each other in a useless “king of the hill” competition (or sabotage) which prevents any from escaping and ensures their collective demise. The analogy in human behavior is that of a group that will attempt to “pull down” (negate or diminish the importance of) any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of jealousy, conspiracy or competitive feelings.

This term is broadly associated with short-sighted, non-constructive thinking rather than a unified, long-term, constructive mentality. It is also often used colloquially in reference to individuals or communities attempting to “escape” a so-called “underprivileged life”, but kept from doing so by others attempting to ride upon their coat-tails or those who simply resent their success.

I feel that Indian parents, who have been pushed into such a situation by their parents – perform the same disservice to their off springs. Which is why they want to get their kids married young – so that they cant see through the scam and put an end to it.

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.