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Am I being too sensitive? Family pressure on being single

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  • #840888 Reply

    Lately I’ve felt like distancing myself from some of my family and mother, who I love dearly, and who is a huge part of my and my daughter’s life because of comments made every single time I see them. I’m a single mom raising a 4 year old and although I understand my mom’s desire for me to “get married and have more kids,” she makes comments referring to “there’s still hope,” or nudging me everytime there’s a man without a ring telling me to make a move “because you know there’s not much time,” or asking what about that one guy you dated, he was nice maybe call him? I’ve tried dating, and honestly it’s hard because I don’t have a lot of time and the people I’ve met just haven’t clicked with– so, then I get the lecture after of how maybe I’m just too picky. I’ve tried explaining that I’m okay although I would like to meet someone one day, I can’t force something and I don’t want to talk about it or be the center of conversations. When I say that, she will get offended, say fine I just won’t talk to you, then it’s like an elephant in the room. It’s almost like in their minds my life is sad, less hoepful, or inccomplete, without a partner. Like I’m not a whole person or totally fullfilled until I can find a husband and have another baby.

    Maybe my sensitivity is due to me feeling stressed or sad because I am the only single parent raising a child around me. And I am at an age where reality is that having a family or another child is not a high liklihood. My entire family is happily married, and so are most of my friends. I don’t think I’d walk away feeling so sensitive about it if it wasn’t highlighted everytime I’m around. I’ve expressed I’m happy where I am with my daughter and I believe everything will happen when it should and for the right reasons but how can I address this that in making comments like this I felt outcasted almost. I’m most likely projecting my internal feelings of feeling like an outcast, and maybe I am being too sensitive about their comments. I do feel insecure at times about my situation, and scared, but in an honest kind of way. It’s hard not having a team, or the support that I see that everyone around me has. I try to be calm and enjoy the moment, and I try not to think of it but I’m constantly reminded– thoughts?

    • This topic was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by avataranny21.
    • This topic was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by avataranny21.
    #840899 Reply

    I think that you would benefit from therapy to help you work out some of these feeling and maintain boundaries with your mother.

    As for Mom, tell her that you love her and know how she feels but her endless comments are wearing you down emotionally and you won’t stay around her if she keeps making them. And then stick with it. Be polite but end conversations when she does this. I imagine someone here can suggest a script for shutting her down.

    I wish I had a good term for it but people who bully will engage in this weird inversion where they make your getting upset the real source of offense.* Don’t buy into it. You, an adult mother are entitled to not have her telling you how to live your personal life. Be polite but don’t take this from her.

    *This is a big part of the dynamic of racial politics in the US.

    #840901 Reply

    “My entire family is happily married, and so are most of my friends.”.

    They are probably not all happily married.

    I don’t know where you live but have you thought of expanding your social circle? Maybe join some meetups for single parents or other unmarried people. Or just social activities that don’t revolve around kids.

    #840902 Reply

    Agree with Fyodor. I think when you see pressure from married people to get single people hitched, it’s often rooted in a little bit of jealousy and comes from a place of trying to convince themselves that they are happy.

    Though it sounds like your mother in particular has some pretty toxic attitudes about the importance of “having a man around”. Just crowd out that noise as much as possible and do what you want to be happy.

    #840903 Reply

    Dear LW, you are not too sensitive. These comments are offensive and you should say it clearly. If it happens again, especially from your mother, please tell her: once and for all, I ask you not to comment on my private life. This offends me. Let me live my life the way it is. Leave me alone about this.”
    If she acts offended, just leave. Don’t let her take this role: you are the offended, not her. Don’t be afraid to set boundaries: this is what all children to at some point when they become adults and their parents don’t get the memo. If she comes again on that topic, then cut it short: this is getting really old. It told you to stop. So stop or I just leave.”
    She will get the message. But I do think you will benefit from some distancing from her. It can only help you to assert yourself, and I can’t see the positive input she is bringing here. She still treats you like a little girl. So have to courage to assert yourself, face her surprise and perhaps anger, but this role reversal has to happen, for your own sake and sanity. Do it. Best wishes in your life, don’t be so anxious about the future. Enjoy your daughter’s childhood, those years are great and pass quickly. Take it as it comes, and you will be happier.

    #840906 Reply

    Have you ever been honest with her about how her comments make you feel? You describe telling her you’re okay but you would like to meet someone someday, and that you don’t want to talk about it. Telling her you do want to meet someone (even if it’s true) might encourage her to keep up the comments because she feels she’s helping you.

    Try saying something like “Mom, I know you’re coming from a place of love, but when you constantly bring this up, you’re hurting me. It makes me feel like you don’t think I’m good enough or a complete person on my own. That’s very painful and it’s affecting my self-esteem. I can handle my own dating life, and if I ever have someone to introduce you to, I’ll let you know, but I’m asking you to please stop pushing me about this.”

    When she gets offended and says she’ll just stop talking to you, say “There are plenty of things for us to talk about. This can’t be the only topic you can think of, but if it is, then yes, we’ll have to stop talking.” When she acts like a victim because she can’t keep up behaviour she knows is hurting you, realize that you’re not the villain and you’re not hurting her. You’re not the cause of those awkward silences and elephants in the room. That’s on her for continuing to push to be allowed to say things that hurt you. Allow yourself to not feel guilty for protecting yourself.

    If it’s habit for her to talk about this often, you will have to enforce this boundary, possibly many times, before she learns. With every comment, you need to remind her what you talked about and end the conversation or hang up the phone or walk away.

    Some therapy for yourself would be wonderful. Keep in mind that it’s never too late in life to meet someone and add to your family. You can find a partner to love at any age, and if you want more children but find yourself past the fertile years, there is always the option of fostering or adoption.

    #840908 Reply

    In this situation I think you need to be more forceful than saying please don’t talk to me this way. When you ask something people can say no. You need to state directly what will not be allowed. You will not talk to me that way again is much more direct and powerful and draws a distinct boundary. It doesn’t ask for her to agree with you and do what you request. It says you won’t put up with what she is doing anymore.

    There are many ways you could say this and maybe use what feels most natural and which works best for the specific way she brings it up.

    If she is saying you are too picky look her in the eyes and say, “Of course I am picky. I can’t believe you would suggest that I not be picky. I have a daughter whose quality of life is at stake. You could even turn this around more by asking, “What is wrong with you that you would want me to not be picky?” This turns the whole thing around and says that she is the problem, she is the one with something wrong, not you.

    If she brings up you dating or needing to date you look her in the eyes and say, “I will not have this conversation again.” Then get your daughter and leave. If you are on the phone hang up.

    Or, she brings up your need to date or have a man. You look her in the eyes and say. “I have a good life. Quit acting like my life isn’t good.” At this point in any conversation you leave or exit the conversation. You have to teach her that the consequence for starting this conversation is that you leave. If she wants to see you or your daughter she doesn’t bring this up.

    This is harder if she babysits your daughter for you but you can still walk out the moment she brings it up. “I’m not having this conversation. Bye.”

    If your daughter is standing there to hear all of this you could say something like, “Silly grandma thinks we aren’t happy. Grandma, you are so silly.”

    Your daughter really doesn’t need to hear this constant conversation where it seems to be said over and over that a woman needs a man to be happy. Your daughter needs reinforcement that you can be a happy woman without a man. You can also be a happy woman with a man. There is no one way to be happy and we each have to find our way to our happiness. I would reinforce this every time that grandma is bring up this topic. “Grandma doesn’t get it that we’re happy.” “Grandma is confused.”

    #840909 Reply

    I went through something similar, and I could swallow everyone’s comments (for a long time) except for my mother’s. We are very close and have a great relationship but the constant pressure was definitely making me avoid her and edit what I did say when we did talk. Finally one day I just got fed up. My feelings were hurt and I couldn’t hold it in any more and I snapped at her “Why do I need a husband to be good enough for you? Why aren’t I enough just by myself?” She froze for a second and started to get teary and said “I had no idea I was making you feel that way. I’m sorry” We had a long, tearful, and open talk and after that she was soooo much better. And she must have told the rest of the family too because everyone backed waaay off.

    So after making this all about me, I just want to say – talk to your mom. Tell her how she is making you feel. Tell her the pressure is not making dating any easier. Tell her you – and your daughter – are enough.

    #840917 Reply

    I think you should bring this up with your mother at a time when she hasn’t just made you feel like shit. Ask her for coffee or something and tell her how these comments make you feel, and tell her she needs to stop because you don’t want to hear it anymore. Tell her you will leave if she continues to do this. And, when she inevitably does say it again-grab your child and go.

    This is boundary setting. You unfortunately need to treat her this way. It will probably take a time or two for her to get it, maybe not.

    #840924 Reply

    If the above good advice fails and you really want to get her to stfu, tell her that she inspired you to sign up for a date-an-inmate site.

    #841157 Reply

    Could it be the case that your mom can pick up on some of your feelings of being an outcast? And she doesn’t know how to be supportive any other way then by trying to fix what she thinks is the root of a problem? You don’t mention age or culture but many women are brought up to think that marriage is the only way to feel secure. She might simply not know how to be supportive when she senses your vulnerability and sadness.

    I think if you are close to her and lean on her a lot, a little distance and finding a few more relationships which offer validation and empathy of your single-hood status may help. Sometimes if people realize they are stressing you out more than motivating you, they will try a different approach. Would it help at all to be honest with her and lean into your vulnerability? To tell her that the way she is trying to help is kicking right on a part of your heart that already hurts? Sometimes mothers don’t always know the right way to help but can be amenable to coaching.

    #841164 Reply

    Instead of trying to carpet the world, put on slippers.

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