Providence, Rhode Island? Couldn't you have gotten any farther away from me?
August 15, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

How do I reconcile my decision to get far, far away from home with my mother's belief that I'm doing it out of spite?

I grew up in the suburbs and it was boring as hell so when college application time came around, I applied for schools in big cities very far away from where I live. I did it because I wanted adventure and excitement. I did it because I wanted to break away from life in Middle American Town, USA. What I did NOT do it for was to spite my mother or my family in any way.

I understand how my mother thinks that me moving thousands of miles away to go to school has something to do with hating her and my family, but that's just not true. The decision was made solely because I want to get the hell out of Dodge. I've explained this her. I've told her that I don't hate her, that she's a good mother, that this has absolutely nothing to do with her, but she keeps on throwing the same sentiment at me.

I know I'm making the right choice for myself, so how do I feel less horrible when my mother constantly accuses me of hating her?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Show her that you love her in other ways (whatever feels normal to you - I would send my mom candy and books from my new town, other moms would prefer phone calls.)

Also, I started doing the flying alone across country to visit Parent X thing at age 9, and I noticed a dramatic increase in the fighting, grouchiness, and misunderstandings from everyone starting a few weeks before I left, every time, until I was 18. This is pretty normal.
posted by SMPA at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2010

It is totally inappropriate for your mother to be making this into a "you hate me by trying to live your life" situation. Continuing to engage her will be, I suspect, fruitless. You should not need to reassure her that by being an adult and finding your own path, a path that may be different from hers, that you are in some way spurning her. She is being unreasonable and while she may be doing it out of love, it's still unreasonable. You need to find a way to say what you have to say, say it once and then not engage her on this point any more and if she's still beating that drum, she'll have to do it on her own.

I have talked about complicated mother-daughter relationships often on AskMe. I have a mom who pulls shit like this, sort of randomly, the rest of the time she's terrific and I have a basic strategy that I mentioned in another AskMe and one previous to that. I am not saying that your mom is crazy like mine, but that accusing your child of hating you when it's clear that is not the case is her problem and not yours and I am sorry. It sucks to hear that, but you need to compartmentalize it as her weird deal and, between you and me, one of the reasons you're probably moving on in the first place.

The door is open for you to move back. There are more ways to communicate at a distance than ever before. If you have other family members who are more reasonable, maybe they can talk some sense into her. All you can do is tell her you don't hate her and act like you don't hate her, but you don't have to play nicenice with her when she's acting like that as if you did something wrong. You did nothing wrong. You are living your life. Parents should be happy when children do this, but sometimes they aren't.
posted by jessamyn at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2010 [18 favorites]

By moving. Seriously. You'll feel better when she can't constantly be mean to you. Also, remind yourself that "this is for me, and here's why...".
posted by Solomon at 1:04 PM on August 15, 2010

By choosing to go to school far away, you are choosing to reject what they have chosen (where they live, the way they live). Someone put that a lot better than me in a previous AskMe, but generally, "you hate me" in this context means "you want to leave all this that I've given to you / chosen, and therefore you must hate all of it and me included."

I went through something similar, in a way. My parents moved to a rural area where I got along with nearly no one at all, and so when I left for college, I was SO EXCITED. My mom was convinced I'd never come home. I had to spend a lot of time explaining to her that HOME and THIS SHIT TOWN were not the same thing to me. That home was separate and not related to what I wanted to get away from was important.

They figured it out eventually. It may be less complicated to just say, "No, mom, I love you. I'm sorry you feel that way."
posted by Medieval Maven at 1:05 PM on August 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

Stop letting your mother guilt trip you. Your mother is creating the very situation she fears. She's making you miserable about moving away, which of course only encourages you to move away.

She should get over herself. People move. They move East, they move West. I moved from New York to California to Montreal. I see my parents a great deal.

It's a good idea to go to college in place that's different from where you grew up. You're supposed to learn new perspectives in college. Of course you moved someplace new and exciting.

Ultimately, it's not your job to deal with your mother's panic attack. Don't get involved in her guilt trip, don't let her lay it on you. Just go to college, call her every week, and come home for the occasional holiday. If you don't cut her out of your life, she'll get that you don't hate her. But she has to understand that you're an adult, and you have to make your own choices, and they're not all about her.
posted by musofire at 1:05 PM on August 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your mom has been fine-tuning her ability to press your guilt buttons for eighteen years and you think something some stranger says on the internet will allow you to cancel out that power? Good luck with that. I mean, she is doing it because she knows it bothers you and so the only way she will stop is if it stops bothering you. But you can't just turn that off. I suppose you could try telling her that you have explained to her your reasons for doing what you are doing and ask her point blank to stop making comments related to you doing it because you hate her. Then every time she does it again just say "Mom you are doing that thing we talked about again that you said you wouldn't do anymore" and otherwise ignore her. Then she will turn up the heat to try to get a reaction. If you don't give her one you might win, but what are the odds that she can't get a reaction out of you? She's your mother. They can't be stopped. They can only be loved in spite of the fact that they are uber-manipulative guilt machines. Just give her lots of hugs and kisses and get your ass to Rhode Island as fast as you can and remember to call her on her birthday.
posted by ND¢ at 1:15 PM on August 15, 2010

She loves you and doesn't want to lose her baby. Understandable. Keep in touch with her frequently in spite of the miles. Re-assure her that all is well between you and her. In time, she will come around.
posted by watercarrier at 1:15 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

She is panicking because her little baby is all grown up and moving away. It's understandable, unless it goes into manipulative territory. It doesn't sound like it yet from your post. Show her your love, go back to visit, and invite her to visit you. There is a ton in Providence, RI for parents to do. Look some of them up, be specific about what you guys could do together when she visits/when you visit. Emphasize things about your home that you love.
posted by copperbleu at 1:22 PM on August 15, 2010

Yeah, I'm sorry to hear that. It's hardest when things like this happen with people who are close to you, because we don't want to sever those emotional connections; but the reality is that this might just have to be one of those things that isn't fully resolved between the two of you in the end. Maybe you will if you are lucky, but you might want to grapple with the possibility that there is no perfect resolution. You can't force people to feel differently, and this is primarily a feelings issue for your mom, not a rational one. One thing to remember is that an unresolved issue does not mean that you did anything wrong. It sometimes feels that way, as sometimes we think that are our first allegiance is keeping the peace with those who are close to us. This is high up on the list, but not at the expense of your wellbeing, or your ability to make good life choices for yourself.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:26 PM on August 15, 2010

I pointedly told my mother that I would not engage in conversations where she tried to guilt-trip me. So when she would tell me I moved across the country because I hated her and wanted to get away from her I would have to say, "I'm sorry but this is not a conversation I am willing to engage in. I did not leave because I hate you and I find it hurtful that you would say that to me. I am going to hang up now and when you would like to have a conversation about how you are feeling without telling me I hate you and that I've run away from you, you can call me back." Seriously. I had to say it (and still do for other reasons on occasion) almost word for word like that. It has at times made our relationship a bit stilted, but it has saved me from feeling cruddy and guilty on more than one occasion.

I've found that a lot of my mom's guilt trips are related to other things that are happening that she isn't talking about. I don't agree that mother's can't be stopped, that they will always be uber-manipulative guilt machines. They will only be UMGM so long as you let them. Lots of moms don't pull that crap with their kids and it might be hard, but I expect my mom to learn how not to be an UMGM. You might need to be explicit in explaining how it makes you feel when she says those things and it will be hard and it will hurt, but it can save you both from a lot of misery in the end.
posted by Felicity Rilke at 1:30 PM on August 15, 2010 [8 favorites]

It's understandable, unless it goes into manipulative territory. It doesn't sound like it yet from your post

What?! It sounds like her mom is being manipulative, she's trying to make her child feel horrible so that the kid will stay close by. Mom is acting terribly, putting her own wants and needs above her child's. That's almost unconscionable.

I know I'm making the right choice for myself, so how do I feel less horrible when my mother constantly accuses me of hating her?

By living your life for yourself, not your mother.

You are, IMO, doing exactly what a child should do, move away from home for bit, so you can experience the world, see different things and grow without the shadow of your parents hovering by. It time, you can return, when they truly need as they get older, if you choose. But for now, finding your space and reveling in the opportunities and experiences of the world while away from your parents is exactly what you're supposed to be doing.

What your mother is doing is wrong. It is petty. It's understandable if she's upset or sad about you going away but to take it so personally and lash out at you is a horrible reaction. It doesn't mean she still isn't a great mom in many ways, but in this instance she's acting like a spoiled, petulant child and you do not have to tolerate it.

Stand by your decision, though it may be hard. Walk away from your mom when she's being like this and inform her that if she continues she will drive a wedge between the two of you. Stand by your decision and tell her that you love her and always, 'cause she's been a good mom, but this is your decision and ask her to respect that fact.

Nobody, not even family, not even the woman who birthed you, should get to make you feel horrible just for living the life you want.
posted by nomadicink at 1:35 PM on August 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

i was in a similar situation years ago. What I was advised to do was to explicitly plan, in advance, when I would be returning to visit, and put it on the calendar. So the next time she starts on you, you can say, "Mom, please don't do this. You know I'm coming home for two weeks at Christmas. I'm excited to see you and can't wait for the visit." If your mom is normal, this will work for her. If she is not, then nothing will help.
posted by micawber at 1:37 PM on August 15, 2010 [4 favorites]

This doesn't have squat to do with you, and everything to do with her. A lot of moms go thru a bit of turmoil when a child leaves the nest, and having them further away makes it worse. I remember feeling that I was going to be superior to all that and still found my eyes surprisingly moist on the way back from dropping my own son off.

I also know from experience that on or around age 18 everyone does get testy. The good news is things calm down after awhile when everyone is used to the new stage of life.

Honestly, at this point I would let her believe what she wants to believe and go on to school. It might help(altho maybe a wee bit cruel) if you remind her a lot of people your age are joining the army, and that Afghanistan is a heck of a lot further away than Big City College, USA.

(One thought-is part of her freakout financial? Or is it that she always thought you'd be coming home on weekends to do your laundry?)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:58 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

I grew up in/on the edge of a major city. It was SO BORING. As an adult I moved to a small town in the ass end of nowhere. It's great fun here! The difference is not so much the places -- the difference is that when you're a teenager, WHEREVER you live is boring, because you can't GO anywhere or DO anything and you're legally barred from doing lots of stuff. (Actually, I suppose the truer thing to say is, wherever you're fully integrated into the life of the community is a fun place to live; wherever you're stuck on the outside is dull; as a teenager, you're always stuck on the outside of a lot of the meaningful life of a community, so it's always dull.) My students say, "Wow, it must have been so awesome living in City when you were a teenager and going to all these great clubs and doing fun things!" And I was like, "No, because I had a curfew and all the clubs were 21 and over anyway!"

So it may be hard for your mom to understand how BORING Hometown is for you, especially if she grew up in/near a city and was bored there. Which is sort of a longer way of what Medieval Maven said: "you are choosing to reject what they have chosen (where they live, the way they live)."

Which doesn't particularly help with the guilt tripping issue, but may give some perspective into her difficulty understanding your desire to go.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:04 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ah, AskMe, always eager to pathologize. This is standard stuff on the eve of heading off to college -- picking a fight because it's easier to be mad than sad. If this is not part of some larger, long-term pattern of trying to keep you dependent, just reassure her or ignore her or ask if she wants to get some ice cream (whichever appeals to you at the moment), and go merrily off to college. Have fun!
posted by palliser at 2:11 PM on August 15, 2010 [8 favorites]

Stop feeling guilty. You are doing what you believe is best for you. Your mother will realize this in time. It is called growing up. You will grow. So too your mom.
posted by Postroad at 2:18 PM on August 15, 2010

This doesn't sound like pathology, this sounds like communication.

One of the problems of communication is that when things aren't going well we tend to think that we can just talk things out. But part of the problem is the ways in which we speak to each other, and the expectations we bring to our conversations.

I strongly suggest you grab yourself a copy of a Deborah Tannen book. I didn't catch whether you're male or female, but she has a book about mothers and daughters communicating, but also a book about adult family members in communcation. You'll learn that your mother is hearing a subtext in what you're saying (whether you mean for it to be there or not.), and that you might be missing the subtext of what your mother is trying to say.

Also. She'll probably forgive you. Just don't make any threats, and realize that she's been in charge of protecting you since you were inside her. She can't protect you from a thousand miles away. That has got to be really fucking scary.
posted by bilabial at 2:23 PM on August 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

There are times in life when you have to accept that others will disagree with or fail to understand your decision. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Make sure you're doing what you're doing for the right reasons. If you are: you have to realize that not everyone will understand. And that's fine.
posted by 2oh1 at 2:38 PM on August 15, 2010

It always hardest when you move away the first time. It'll happen again when you let her know that you won't be coming home for summer break and again when you start a new job far from home.

Most parents fantasize that their children (and grand kids) will be always be close at hand. She's feeling like she failed and wonders where she went wrong. She's hurt and pressuring you for the answer. Just keep reassuring her hope that it blows over.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:50 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Mom is acting terribly, putting her own wants and needs above her child's. That's almost unconscionable.

Give me a break. Communicating her sadness in a poor way is a long way from unconscionable. I am not saying it's good to tell your son you think he hates you. I am saying I've seen dozens and dozens of mothers crying and not taking it well when their children leave home for college.

There are a lot of good suggestions on this thread, pointing small practical things the OP can do to help the situation. Of course it's his life, and of course he will live it. Having a good-to-great relationship with mom (and going a bit out of his way to make sure that remains the case) isn't going to take that life away from him. Everything in moderation.
posted by copperbleu at 2:55 PM on August 15, 2010

There isn't enough information in your question to know the real nature of your relationship with your mom, and what you've chosen to share is that she's a good mother and you love her and the reason you want to go to college far away is the normal reason freshman do so every year. So I thought about what I would want my son, someday, to tell me when I am irrationally grumpy and weepy about him going to school/traveling/working/living/adventuring someplace far away (but he won't have to, of course, because life is like the Gilmore Girls where the best school in the nation is the one you want to go to and only 30 minutes away!):

"Mom, thank you for raising me with so much love and support that I have the confidence to do something that so many of my friends and peers are scared to do. I am going so far away, to such a different place not because I don't love you or because I don't understand you love me, but because I am so secure in our love as a family I know that no matter where I go on this earth, "home" is a simple matter of thinking of you, or hearing your voice on the phone, or getting a letter or an email from you. Your love must be strong, because it has made me strong, and the way I am showing that to you is by taking this leap, and not being afraid. I want to thank you for this security, because it's not something everyone has, and I am really looking forward to telling you about all of my adventures."

At this point, I would burst into tears because, damn, I was a good freaking mother, and maybe go spend more than I was going to on new dorm gear.

I really like Jessamyn's response, as I feel like it takes into account a larger complexity, and it's the direction you should go if those complexities are true for you. If you can imagine saying something like what I fantasized above--easily and genuinely--than there isn't a good mother on earth who wouldn't like to hear it. And yes, employ sympathetic family members to your cause, mothers often need to be approached at multiple fronts.
posted by rumposinc at 3:02 PM on August 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

One thought-is part of her freakout financial?

On that note, there's another issue here that might be relevant. If you're from people who don't/didn't move around much — either due to lack of means, being entrenched in a small town, not having careers that involve a lot of mobility, whatever — what you're doing really breaks the mold, and it might bother them.

Most parents get at least somewhat antsy when their children leave for school, but there may be some layers of complexity on top of that if this describes your family. Part of that concern might be financial, but another component might be that your mother regards moving away as something you don't do and thus you are rejecting her values. If this the sort of situation that you're in, moving away to a big city represents the beginning of a class/life experience divergence from your parents. I wish I could tell you how to navigate that sort of situation, but it's something that I'm still trying to figure out myself.
posted by thisjax at 3:10 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Communicating her sadness in a poor way is a long way from unconscionable. I am not saying it's good to tell your son you think he hates you. I am saying I've seen dozens and dozens of mothers crying and not taking it well when their children leave home for college.

There is a world of difference between not taking it well and guilt tripping your own child because they are doing what's best for their life. This isn't a parent being just grumpy or teary eyes or short. She is accusing the child of hating her simply because they're going to school a great distance away.

It's one thing to make a kid feel bad because they actually did something bad, it's a whole 'nother monstrous level to to make them feel bad when they're doing something good and natural. Her actions are neither understandable or excusable. She's acting crazy and the kid needs to set some boundaries on this issue.
posted by nomadicink at 3:26 PM on August 15, 2010 [5 favorites]

"What kind of person do you think I am, Mom? Is that how you raised me? To be passive-aggressive and not just tell you if there's a problem?"
posted by amtho at 3:46 PM on August 15, 2010 [3 favorites]

Popping back in to say - one thing my mom would say to me, more AFTER she got over it really - was that she'd raised me to be the kind of person rumposinc outlines above, and that even though it was hard, she knew that this was what was supposed to happen.

so A) this does end, and end fine, without people being totally crazy
B) what rumposic said is great.
posted by Medieval Maven at 4:12 PM on August 15, 2010

My incredibly overprotective, anxious parents have also come up with some totally crazy ways to twist things around until I am allegedly being selfish for doing incredibly commonplace things. It's frustrating, incredibly annoying, and frequently condescending.

Despite this, I get along quite well with my parents. I vent to my friends, but I repeat to myself that they are doing this out of unresolved anxiety, and that I am VERY grateful that I am willing to be more self-aware. And I also moved from dullsville suburbia to make my life in an urban setting, so I really, really hear ya.

I don't think it's appropriate for your mom to go on about how you obviously hate her. Certainly she wouldn't want to be treated that way. But it can be useful to examine their perspective when considering how you will communicate with your guilt-tripping mom. So, I submit the following for your consideration:

You don't consider "getting the hell out of dodge" to be a rejection of them as parents, because you can draw a very clear line between your relationship with them and the place where you grew up. But their perspective starts earlier, not only before you were old enough to have opinions about where you grew up, but before you were born. All those choices they made about where and how they were going to raise their kids, this is pretty integral to the identity of "parent." So, you might want to consider describing your wish to move in a more positive way.
posted by desuetude at 5:24 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Are you the first in your family to move far away like this?

Your mother will probably get over it. I'd say by the holidays, most likely.

Right now, she is going through a lot of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, I'm sure she's proud of the fact that you're ready to leave the nest and go off and do exciting new things. On the other hand, she also feels abandoned. What Medieval Maven said upthread is true, as well. She's worried that by rejecting something about where you live now, you're rejecting her. This is especially true if she's happy living there and you are vocal about how great it's going to be to leave. And double if you're also vocally psyched about being out from under the parental thumb.

My parents both pulled a lot of this shit in the months leading up to my departure for college across the country. Both were over it within weeks. She'll realize it's not so bad very soon, you'll see. The best thing you can do is try to stay positive - don't use this to start unnecessary drama with her.
posted by Sara C. at 5:46 PM on August 15, 2010

My daughter went across the country for school. Although I do not feel that she is spiteful, I miss her a lot.
It helps when I feel involved in her life.
So, playing off of that...
-Let her know that you will miss her/do miss her
-Ask her advice, about anything. Laundry, calories in the cafeteria, dealing with new weather patterns, how to get along with roommates. If you think her advice will be useless, at least let her know what you are worried about. "I just need to vent to someone who knows me," is a good line.
-Keep her up to date on what you are doing
-Call twice a week, not just once
-Tell her who your friends are - by name.
-What you are doing for fun on the weekends?
-Discuss your classes with her. What you are taking, why, and why you are not taking that other class. What are you learning, what are your professors like?

Good luck, and have fun in school. It is a great adventure.
posted by SLC Mom at 6:01 PM on August 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

How do I reconcile my decision to get far, far away from home with my mother's belief that I'm doing it out of spite?

You don't. It doesn't have to be resolved. You get to have both, you get to move away and you get to have your mom not be happy with it.

Life's complex. You won't have everyone happy with your decisions all the time (or any of the time).

I'm sorry--I'm not sure what kind of head space I'm in right now, but sometimes people are disappointing. Your mom is feeling loss.

As the stepmom of an eleven year old---I'm praying for her to have a boring upbringing--given the number of terrible options.

Enjoy your move and be kind to your mom through it all. You'll have the moral high ground and, likely, a better relationship for it.
posted by vitabellosi at 6:03 PM on August 15, 2010

She is telling you what it feels like to her for you leave home. A lot of people don't actually realize they are being self centered when they express those feelings as if they are something you caused. Respond to her feelings but do not accept the implication that you should change your plans so she doesn't have to face reality.

Please just hug her and tell her you are happy she loves you so much and that she mustn't feel so bad, you will aways come home and she can come and see you at school (how long would she stay on campus anyway?) and make a pact with her for her to send care packages with brownies or whatever treat she makes just for you. Freshman year is a little bit scary no matter how much you want to be there.

You might try telling her that you will always come home and your wanting to try your wings is just confirmation that she has done her job well, raising a confident healthy person on the verge of adulthood.

If she is "guilting" you, you don't have to buy it. That is her stuff. You will find out that everybody has their own knee-jerk reactions to change and we all have to outgrow our childishness. Some of us grow emotionally and some don't. Don't give up on her just yet but don't be manipulated, either.
posted by Anitanola at 6:13 PM on August 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

how do I feel less horrible when my mother constantly accuses me of hating her?

Focus on moving and having things set up. Yes, you might feel guilty about NOT giving the last bit of time TOTALLY to your mom before you move, but honestly, you can't be your Mom's Mom - she has to figure out how to deal with this and be an adult on her own.

After you move, do what makes you happy and successful - which may include checking in with her regularly, or might not- you have to see how you, personally feel about it and set boundaries that make your life happy.

Any good parent wants to see their kid happy, so make sure to do that, even if it contradicts what she wants.
posted by yeloson at 6:43 PM on August 15, 2010

One very difficult part of becoming an adult is learning to see our parents as real people with their own needs and imperfections, not just as entities that exist primarily in relation to us and our lives.

Your mom loves you. She probably didn't have much choice-- that kind of love is largely conditioned by biology-- but it's real, and if, as you say, she's been a good mom to you, then you've probably benefited from that love in a thousand ways over the course of your existence.

Unfortunately, loving somebody also means needing things from them-- sometimes reciprocity, sometimes connection, sometimes just the assurance that your love is appreciated and acknowledged, that you haven't poured your heart and life out for someone who can't wait to get away from you. I'm guessing that your mom doesn't actually think you hate her; she's just registering that she feels sad that you're leaving, and hurt that you seem so excited to get away from a life she very carefully and lovingly built for you. So she may need a little extra affirmation just now. It's not comfortable or pleasant to think of our parents as people who may need things from us, but acknowledging those needs strikes me as the humane and mature thing to do.

Not all needs should be met, and you always, always have the right to set boundaries about which of other people's needs you fulfill. As others here have said, a good mom won't want you to put aside your dreams, or to make yourself unhappy just to please her. But if you have a good relationship and she's been good to you, I do think that carries with it the obligation to consider your mom's needs and try to meet them insofar as it's possible without doing an injury to yourself.

That may mean being extra warm and complimentary to her over these next few weeks before you leave. Or maybe making a habit of calling her regularly when you get to RI, even when you don't feel like it and have more fun things to do. Or maybe trying not to seem SO conspicuously jubilant about "getting the hell out of Dodge," trying to honor whatever little family customs you'll be leaving behind, talking to your mom about what you'll miss when you're off away from home. These things may not make her feel 100% better, or get her to shut up about how she feels about your leaving. But if you do decide to make little concessions like this, I suspect you'll look back one day when/if you're a parent yourself and be glad that you decided to be kind to your mom during a tough time for her. Being old enough for adventures across the country should also mean being old enough to avoid casual cruelty to people who love you.
posted by Bardolph at 7:37 PM on August 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Your mother will probably get over it once she sees how happy you are in your new city. My mother freaked out when I (the oldest child) left for university because I didn't just move halfway across the country, I moved to a different continent -- but I continued to call and email her about what was happening in my life, and that seemed to help a lot. Now I've told her I never plan on going back to where I'm from for more than a short visit, and she's okay with that.
posted by canadia at 8:16 PM on August 15, 2010

Well, I went through the exact same thing when I left for college, and I went to the Big City for the same reasons as you.

I did go home on vacations, and my my never stopped urging me not to take that flight back to Big City at the end of the vacation. "Transfer," she'd tell me. Or, "You know, you don't have to go back there." Or, on the phone, "You sound soooo homesick."

So, depending on what your mom is like, you may have to suck it up and not admit to any homesickness or doubts. Go off to college, get busy, have fun, work hard, and don't fret about your mom. The first semester was the hardest for me, but after that, I created my niche. My mom called me constantly, driving my roommates nuts (this was before everyone over the age of 12 owned a cell phone). I learned to answer the phone selectively, and when we spoke, to be busy/breezy/happy. It was hard not to be able to be totally open with her, but any time I was open, it was just more fuel for her fire. I had to keep this up until she finally realized I was going to stay. (Um... about senior year.)

Not letting yourself be manipulated by someone so important to you is hard - probably the hardest thing I've ever done, and something that still takes constant practice.
posted by Knowyournuts at 10:57 AM on August 17, 2010

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