Daughter seeks escape from clingy, overbearing mother
July 18, 2007 9:24 AM Subscribe
My mother has become very clingy. I have things I want to say to her but I don't want to hurt her, as it isn't her intent to hurt me.
posted by desjardins to Human Relations (25 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
First off - yes, I am already seeing a therapist, and this has been discussed to some degree, though there have been more urgent issues as of late. This is ongoing background noise that has steadily increased in volume.
Since I got engaged two months ago, and moved (one state away from her) a few weeks ago, my mother has been nearly relentless with phone calls and visits and gifts. She wants to help us move. She wants to clean the new house. She wants to reupholster our (practically new) furniture (Wha?!).
Some very relevant background: She is bipolar, and while she's well-medicated now, she neglected to take her meds while I was a child. There was a lot of craziness: mostly verbal abuse, some physical, and a ton of emotional, um, irregularity. Of course, no one told me that she was mentally ill, so I just thought I deserved it, which led to a lot of self-destruction, and later, anger at her. (by the way, I was an only child, and my parents were divorced, so I bore the full brunt of her nutty episodes.) After a lot of therapy and discussions with her, I have totally forgiven her for what she's done in the past. Really, I have (not sarcastic).
But this new behavior is really getting irritating. I've had to put my foot down a few times and say "No, Keith and I don't have time to come up there for dinner" (2 hour drive). "Thanks for your offer of assistance but we're all set with the move." She acts like she's listening, and a day later she'll say the same thing. Since her intent is to be helpful, I get wore down and finally accept. For example, she's insistent on getting me a subscription to a wedding magazine even though I won't read it and it's a waste of money & paper. She's also bought me a book of wedding vows and bookmarked a few she thought I'd like (GRRRR). I am really overwhelmed with a bunch of other things in my life, and fighting her is one more thing I don't need.
As I write this, it occurs to me that she's probably in a manic phase where she's trying to do 10,000 things at once. I know I can't use reason to talk her out of that. I do want to write a letter describing the effect it's having on me, but I'm having trouble with the wording. Here's what I've got so far:
I feel pressured when you want to do something for me, because it often creates a burden on me.
I feel like I'm obligated to be your friend because you don't have any others. I feel as if I'm a project for you. I feel like you don't listen to what I really want, or don't allow me the space to decide what that is.
I feel like you're not being genuine, like you've put up a shell around yourself, and the phoniness really irritates me. I would rather you just be honest with me. I feel like you're still trying to shelter me.
Hive mind, I'm looking for ways to express myself better in a non-hurtful way. I'm also looking for any other tactics to deal with her behavior in the short term, as I really can't afford any more emotional hemorrhaging this month.