This topic contains 34 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Sapphire 5 months, 3 weeks ago.
February 15, 2018 at 2:05 pm #739532
Not a bad daughter to protect your boundaries. That’s part of being an adult and moving through that individuation. That’s why people are telling you to get therapy and/or counseling, not to try and drag your mom there. Your mom doesn’t want to change and isn’t going to change so that if you want something in the dynamic to change then it’s on you to change.
The blunt responses are that you’re not trying to stop this “at all costs” by any stretch of the imagination. Your wife is putting up with more than others would. It’s a relationship killer to have this level of intrusion that’s not being addressed in any significant manner. It’s not some little obstacle; it’s a daily loss of autonomy in what should be a personal space. There are dealbreakers and pretending that divorce isn’t an option for when things are horrible on a daily basis is a way to dance around problems.
You can’t control your mother’s emotions and she’s going to feel however she feels. If she is hurt, know that it’s her behavior that’s gotten her there. 55 isn’t elderly and if she’s so hurt she can seek her own resources to address that physical and mental pain. Shutting her out isn’t the only possible boundary. You could consider seeing her in a neutral location. I would’ve changed the locks a long time ago. I don’t care if I lived around the corner, that’d be too much family time every week for me. I have things to do and friendships to support and self care to do that would interfere with 2x weekly long visits. Therapy should help you explore what you think a ‘normal’ family looks like since that’s something you desire. Just know, your mother is not acting like a normal mother.February 15, 2018 at 2:09 pm #739534
Your. Mom. Is. Not. Normal.
You -YOU – need therapy. To understand how to deal with this and not get caught up in the guilt tsunami your mom has created. You can bring your mom to the occasional therapy session but know that she is nuts and she will likely never listen. You need to learn how to establish and reinforce boundaries.
Because your mom will cross those boundaries over and over and over.February 15, 2018 at 2:40 pm #739535
“We want to make sure she gets the help she needs or we find a way to get her to stop acting this way so we can have a normal family.”
You cannot change the way she acts. It doesn’t work that way. If she refuses to get help, you cannot force her.
“I have tried talking to my mother multiple times about this situation, but she always denies that she is doing anything and does not listen to what I have to say. It doesn’t matter how I word anything, she just does not listen…”
See? Even you admit in the very next paragraph that your mom doesn’t listen. There are no magic words here. She has to want to change and SHE DOESN’T WANT TO. She doesn’t care about your boundaries.
You are the one who needs therapy.February 15, 2018 at 3:43 pm #739543
You can’t have a “normal” family. That’s not something that you can just manufacture. Your family members are who they are and you have to deal with it. You can’t change your mother. You can change how you respond to her, which is what everyone here is referring to.
I spoke to a counselor once because I was disappointed and angry that my parents weren’t going to attend my grad school graduation. But she pointed out that earlier I had been discussing how stressful it would be to have them there. I felt like my stepmom would be hard to please, my dad wouldn’t understand why my education mattered to me, my mom would be a lot of work to sort of “babysit.” So, she said, “Do you ACTUALLY want them to visit and attend?” And I realized, no, not really. And then she said, “So, you really just want to have the sort of parents who would want to come to your graduation and whom you’d enjoy having there?” The reality in the situation was that I do not have those parents. And you do not have a mother with whom you can have a normal relationship. That is the reality of your life.
Trying to change something you cannot change takes time and energy away from changing what you can change — which is your behavior and what you allow your mother to do. There comes a time when a person can’t really complain too much about someone else controlling their life because they are the one letting that person do that. If you chose to enforce boundaries, you would not have had to deal with all the things you have put up with. Not to say that it would solve the situation by any means, but you don’t HAVE to have your mother staying at your home for an extended time. You don’t HAVE to have her show up all the time. You chose to let her. And that’s understandable — it’s hard to enforce boundaries. But you can’t do this indefinitely and also complain and also put your wife through this. Therapists are very good at teaching people how to set boundaries. I think that is one of the top skills they teach people.February 15, 2018 at 6:22 pm #739558
I don’t at all get your indignation about mean advice. You wrote in for advice, saying your gf was fed up with your mother’s jealous behavior, patterning her affectionate touches toward you, and that it was your gf who had to complain to your mother and you that this wasn’t normal. So, you and gf got married to escape this and have independence and privacy and then you allowed your mother, who still owned her own house, to live on your sofa in a two bedroom apartment, in which one bedroom was your office. YOU allowed this situation to exist for 4 Months, until your wife finally had to step in and talk to your mother. You say that you constantly talk to your mother about this stuff, but it seems like your wife always has to be the enforcer having the tough talks with YOUR mother. That is why everyone says YOU are the problem and need therapy to learn how to set and enforce boundaries with your mother. You know as well as we do why your mother sold her house. She thought this would work to manipulate you. How did she know this? Because you and she have been in a dysfunctional relationship forever and she knows that you are UNABLE to set and enforce boundaries. That is why therapy is essential for you. If you had set and enforced boundaries earlier, then your mother never would have sold her house.
Your relatives are leaning on you at your mother’s request, because they want nothing to do with her crazy and most certainly don’t want to take her in and pal around with her.
Visiting with your mother once or twice a week is fine, if you have the time, AND ESPECIALLY IF you leave no zero doubt in her mind that this is the extreme edge of your boundary and that your shared time with her is not going to rise and she is not going to live with you and your wife AND that these meetings will not be sessions to display jealousy and disparage your wife.
And yes, your wife is far better than your behavior deserves. Not better than you deserve, but you need therapy to conform your behavior to match what your wife deserves.
And you just wrote the original with your wife to see how people would react? That’s really trollish behavior. If you want advice from strangers, at least make an effort to be up front and not play games. After your second post my reaction was ‘she’s pissed at us? We should be thoroughly pissed at her trollish actions.’
So… are you really a woman and do you really have a wife, and is your mother really a jealous crazy or are you just a troll who needs to FO.February 15, 2018 at 7:47 pm #739563
Next OP will be saying ‘ah haaaaa! We’ve actually been married for 10 years and I’m a psychologist who wrote this to prove you WRONG!’
Anyway, just twistin ya cobbles OP. Go to counselling in a good faith effort to show your wife you’re committed to making your marriage the best in can be.February 15, 2018 at 8:35 pm #739565
Stephanie, I think we have all been very clear. YOU are the one who needs to go to therapy. Whether your mother will go or not is irrelevant. You need to go. You state that you want to have a healthier relationship with your mom without hurting her at all, in any way, even a little. This is literally impossible. Your mom cried on the couch for hours because you went on a date. You need to give up the idea that you can manage or control her emotions, or that she will respond reasonably. Get yourself to counselling asap.
You are describing a relationship where your wife has played second fiddle to your mother literally from the moment she met you. You openly admit to prioritizing your mom over her consistently. She had to endure your mom on every date you’ve been on, she had to move in with her and then compete for your affections. Your mom invaded your home when you finally had a chance to start over. That is not an “obstacle” to overcome. That is enduring years of toxic baggage that has had an extremely negative effect on her own happiness, and leaving would not only be reasonable but recommended for self preservation. Honestly, at this point it sounds codependent and unhealthy that she has put up with this, and I would recommend she see a counselor herself. Setting boundaries with a toxic parent you are deeply intertwined with is beyond the scope of an advice site. Get therapy for yourself if you are serious about changing this dynamic.February 21, 2018 at 2:20 pm #740157
LW, I’m laughing because you’re shocked at people’s “cruel” answers. Have you not read this site before? Wendy herself does not spare fools. And the commenters are quite honest. That’s a feature of this site, not a bug. If you want compassion, there are other advice websites to go to. If you want someone to hit you with the chairleg of truth, you come here! Welcome 🙂February 21, 2018 at 2:30 pm #740159
A big thing about growing up is that you start to realize your parents are human. Often deeply flawed humans. And often they’re so entrenched in their ways, they won’t change. Part of adulthood is accepting this and dealing with it. Get yourself into therapy and learn the valuable life skill of detaching yourself from your mother’s umbilical cord.February 22, 2018 at 12:05 pm #740269
OP, get therapy before your wife (rightly) decides to leave you. Your mother will NEVER accept your marriage. You will NEVER have the ‘normal’ relationship with her. She wants you to herself, 24/7/365 and will do ANYTHING to destroy your independence in such a way that you blame yourself and your wife.
YOU must set the boundaries.February 22, 2018 at 11:33 pm #740368
I feel really bad for your wife. She was willing to put up with this for so LONG. You, your wife, and your mom really need therapy. I’m not sure if your mom is willing to go to therapy, so woman the fuck up and cut the umbilical cord already. Everything that others commented above, just do that. I’m surprised that your wife didn’t hand you divorce papers. You owe your wife an apology.