If she tells me I'm same-sex attracted one more time, I will scream!
July 25, 2013 7:48 AM   Subscribe

Even after taking a year off with no contact, my mother is continuing her negative comments toward my relationship with my lesbian partner. We followed much of the advice in this previous AskMe, and did the year of no contact and it actually seemed to work for a while. It seems to be wearing off and my mother is now making remarks to various siblings of mine (I come from a big Mormon family) that "Natasha's" and my children will not turn out right, comparing the situation to my cousin's who grew up with a single mom and how they turned out without a father home, that she just can't get comfortable with the arrangement, etc. How do I specifically tell my mom this is Not Ok and get her to knock it off?

After the year of no contact (ended 8 months ago) my parents invited us over to their house for dinner, my dad apologized for a lot of the stuff he and my mom said during that time. We've had several get togethers since then.

Fast forward to yesterday. Things have been going...better in a sense that they don't treat Natasha half as rudely as they did before, but it's still a bit weird. However, my family just returned from a 2 week European vacation two days ago (that we were not invited on... my mother told my sister that it was because we had told her that we would only sleep in the same bed during the trip, and had declined. We never got the chance to make a decision either way, as, we weren't ever invited. It's better we didn't go, but that's another story for another day).

My mom keeps telling different siblings of mine (who relate this to me in one way or another) that she just doesn't approve of Natasha, that our children are going to suffer (if she only knew we are seriously considering getting pregnant by the end of the year), and that "living this way is going to have serious consequences down the road." Direct quote.

I've been out since I was 21- to the whole world but this is my first serious relationship where marriage and babies have been discussed. My mother called yesterday and I didn't pick up her call- since they have been gone 2 weeks it's been a while since I talked to her. I screened her call and am now writing this AskMe.

What is a reasonable way to interact with my mother on this? I want to call her out for her bad behavior and I don't really have the words to do it. My mom does intimidate me a little but I have always been known to stand up to bullies so this shouldn't be any different. As of this month, Natasha and I have since moved out of state and so contact with them will be even less frequent, but this all sucks so much. I still have siblings living at home that she's influencing.

I'm just your standard lesbian with a beautiful partner that I love dearly. Nothing to write home about, so why is my mother (and my dad more removed) having such a hard time coming to grips with "life"? I don't understand and I don't know how to cope. I've been going through this for almost two years with them and the stress and worry have become overwhelming. Natasha has been so understanding through all of this but I worry about the impact it has on her. I thought the Dan Savage "year off" would do the trick, and it worked for a little while but there are deeper seated feelings about my partnership with Natasha than I ever thought were actually possible. Thank you in advance for reading.
posted by timpanogos to Human Relations (31 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
"Mom, I love you dearly. I also love Natasha dearly. One of you is not trying to end my relationship with the other. That is a huge plus in that person's column when I decide which relationship I want to spend any time or effort on."
posted by Etrigan at 7:58 AM on July 25, 2013 [29 favorites]

Nothing to write home about, so why is my mother (and my dad more removed) having such a hard time coming to grips with "life"?

Seriously? Because your parents are religious Mormons who live in Utah and their entire lives these things you're talking about simply "don't happen" and when they do, they are carefully and delicately not talked about and ignored (eg, the "unmarried neighbor" and his "friend").

She thinks your children are going to suffer because that's what she has always been taught in her community, and in the one example she has ever seen of a non-traditional family structure, the child did have a difficult time of it.

I can't tell you what the solution is, because I've never gone through what you're going through. However, your mother is reacting pretty much exactly as she could be expected to react under the circumstances.
posted by deanc at 7:58 AM on July 25, 2013 [17 favorites]

No offense, but it sounds like you really do have the words to do it. You're doing it fine just here. "I am not okay with you talking about me this way and if you continue to do so, you will not be part of my life. You are offending me and my partner and our family, and the 'serious consequences' of this will be that you will not be part of our lives. This is not what I want, but I will not continue to be treated this way."

(This is, of course, easier said than done. I wouldn't have been able to do it. But I communicated the same message passive aggressively almost 20 years ago and have a great relationship with loving parents AND a partner these days.)

One more thing: I don't know about your family dynamics, but I find it really weird that the snide comments your mother is making are getting to you through your siblings. If you feel like they are doing it for your benefit, ask them to stop. "No contact/arguments" means no contact/arguments made by proxies as well. And if you feel like they are doing it for your mother's sake, I'd consider telling them to stop and applying the same rules to them.

I'm sorry you're going through this, but I can tell you that many, many times, if you're willing to fight (which you shouldn't have to be, but that's where we're often at), a relationship with bigoted parents can be salvaged. But the change needs to come from them if you're going to be happy in the long run.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:00 AM on July 25, 2013 [10 favorites]

"Mom, a lot of the things you say about me and my partner are getting back to me, and that hurts, especially when we seemed to be making good progress towards being a family. Please understand that the negative things you say about me and my partner to family and friends will not drive us apart; they will drive us away. If that's what you want, please be honest with us, so that we can move on with our lives. I love you, and I need you to accept us completely and without shame, or not at all."
posted by pipeski at 8:01 AM on July 25, 2013 [13 favorites]

Go back to no contact. Any contact you do have with your mother is never going to change her mind or make her approve of your life choices. I know that sounds INCREDIBLY harsh and unrealistic, but it seems as though your mother makes you miserable.

Basically, this: "I am an adult. You don't get to have a say in my life. I am not doing anything wrong and if you continue to act this way, we will not have a relationship." You can do this. Good luck.
posted by futureisunwritten at 8:02 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

There is not one thing you can do to change the way your mom thinks or what she says about this issue. Nothing. This may be a case where you just have to cut her from your life to save your own sanity. I have done that (for different reasons, but to the same effect), and while getting to the place where I made the decision was awful, it was very very peaceful and pleasant afterward, and not something I ever regretted.
posted by something something at 8:04 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

In addition to the good advice above, can you ask your siblings to stop relating these snide comments? Or maybe use them in reverse - everytime she says something rude like this to them, have them refer her to PFLAG?

The bottom line is what you have already identified: her comments are wildly inappropriate and wrong. She either needs to get this and do something about it (like stop making them) or you will go no contact again. The only thing you can really control is how you react and she needs to see that there are consequences.
posted by tafetta, darling! at 8:05 AM on July 25, 2013

Life is too short to constantly deal with assholes. Even if you're related to that asshole. If the stress and worry is overwhelming you, then you really need to either dial back contact or stop it all together.

I would spell out my needs to my mother. "I need you to not badmouth me and my partner, and if you do, I will walk away again." Then stick to that, if it happens.

I kind of view it similar to children -- when children misbehave, should you give them what they want? Or overlook their bad behavior? Keep indulging them? No, because it sets a bad example and they don't learn, and they think it's okay to keep doing it because the consequences are not very severe.

You need to kind of mean what you say and show her the consequences of her attitude are to lose you, and if you feel that these points are important, then she loses you from her life.

I'm getting the impression you appear to want your mother to accept you -- and 'do the right thing' -- understandable, but she may never, ever, truly accept the situation. You can't control her feelings on the subject. In a perfect world, she should love you unconditionally. In this world, you may need to spell out your deal-breakers to her and stick to them if she crosses the line again.

Unfortunately, there's no easy way.
posted by Dimes at 8:05 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

You love your lady. You want your parents love and approval. Sadly, these may not be mutually compatible. We can't tell you how much you can/should/will put up with in pursuit of both your mom and your lady, but its entirely possible your mom will NEVER be able to give you the love, support, and acceptance you want from her. So.... protect yourself, if it comes down to it.
posted by Jacen at 8:07 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Tell your siblings to stop relaying messages, and suggest to them that they say to your mother "why are you saying this to me instead of OP?"

Your mom is worried -- it's baseless and stupid --- but you can't enforce what she says to other people. Being polite to your face sounds like good progress. If she's just unloading on your siblings and not trying to recruit them against you, let it go.

Having said that -- ask your siblings where they stand. If they support you, suggest that they respond to mom with "mom, I can't help you with that." And ask them not to report back to you.

Now go read "Dance of Anger" for a better understanding of this triangulation dynamic.
posted by vitabellosi at 8:11 AM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

I think what's most important is how your mother treats you and your partner directly. If she's treating you poorly in person, that's the behaviour you want to deal with. Your siblings should not be relating to you what your mother told them. She could just be trying to process her previous understanding of the world, which I'm sure is a big struggle.

She deserves credit if she is trying to show acceptance to you. If your siblings are being unduly influenced by what she says, then you need to deal with them and not her. It's also their place to tell her to stop saying the things she does to them, if they can't deal with it (or perhaps help her work through her negative thinking). As far as you're concerned, you shouldn't be made aware of it.

Also, I'd be inclined to cut her some slack if she doesn't want to invite you to specific things, but makes you feel welcome at other events. If there's a blanket exclusion, then that's problematic.
posted by waterandrock at 8:14 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

If you think your mom might intimidate you out of saying what you need to say, or that you might get flustered during the conversation, I think it's perfectly acceptable to reach out to her by letter or email. You've expressed yourself in an eloquent and heartfelt way here, and I think you might feel better about talking with your mom if you can organize your thoughts in advance.

But ultimately, I think the best thing to do is tell her that she has two options. The first is to welcome Natalie into your family as your spouse, treat the two of you just like any other married couple in the family, and immediately cease making any negative and bigoted comments to you, Natalie, or anyone else in the family. 100% acceptance and love. The second option is to lose you as a child. No contact, probably forever. Because failing to welcome Natalie and your potential future children is unacceptable, and your little family needs to surround itself with loving, supportive people. Those are your mom's two options. It is up to her to choose.
posted by decathecting at 8:14 AM on July 25, 2013

Oh, but if your siblings are young children, then yes, you need to tell your mom to stop denigrating you in front of them.
posted by waterandrock at 8:17 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Consider this as a point of potential optimism: grand babies have a way of changing former racists and homophobes into loving grandparents. It is really hard to be an asshole to a cute baby I think. It may well be that this will get better, not worse once you have a baby.
posted by bananafish at 8:20 AM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

It sounds like your dad has a better attitude, you might want to ask him to help you out here. Explain to him how much your mother is hurting and ask him to point it out to her in the moment, or offer a dissenting viewpoint to your siblings.
posted by Garm at 8:23 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

My mom keeps telling different siblings of mine (who relate this to me in one way or another)

I think this requires a couple different conversations.

With your siblings, next time they mention a comment from Mom:

"You know, it doesn't really help me to know that Mom has said some new offensive thing. I appreciate your impulse to let me know what's going on, but I already know that she doesn't approve of my relationship and is uncomfortable with the idea of Natasha and me having kids. What would help me is to know that when Mom makes those comments to you, you say something like, 'Timpanogos and Natasha have a strong relationship, and their kids will have loving parents. I think that's what matters.' Or, you know, something like that. Basically, I'd love to know that you're standing up for me. But I already know what Mom thinks about my relationship, so you don't need to share her comments with me, unless she suddenly starts talking about how great it'll be when I have kids and what an awesome parent Natasha will be. Definitely tell me if that happens."

To your mom, next time she says something offensive directly to you:

"Mom, I already know what you think about my relationship. I don't know why you'd make that comment other than to insult or hurt me. Given that you're not going to persuade me to end my relationship with Natasha, what do you hope to gain by making that type of comment?"

And depending on the answer, you may need to keep your distance for a while longer. I don't think your goal at this point should be to persuade your mom that your relationship is good or healthy. I don't know if that's possible, given her worldview. But. You can absolutely insist on being treated with respect. She can think whatever narrow-minded thoughts she wants to think: you can't control that. But if she wants to have a functional relationship with you, she needs to speak to you (and Natasha) with respect and kindness. Make that your emphasis in further dealings with her.
posted by Meg_Murry at 8:28 AM on July 25, 2013 [20 favorites]

I have gone through a very similar situation. And the end result — after years of stress and unhappiness, years of being badmouthed, years of not being accepted for who I am, years of not accepting my partner — was no contact. Well over a decade of no contact now. They chose to lose me as a child.

I'd go no contact again. And reassess in a year. If it's the same, you have to decide whether or not you want to cut ties. For me cutting ties hurt a great deal, but being treated poorly hurt much more.

I hope that going no contact for another period will help. I have seen it work in other families, even very religious ones. But it if does not, you have a hard choice to make. If I can offer any words of encouragement — Dan Savage again — it does get better. It really does. My thoughts will be with you.
posted by Lescha at 8:32 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Let's go back to basics. You cannot control other people's behaviour. You can only lay down boundaries, and you can only control your own response. So:

1) What your mother says to your siblings is none of your business. What your siblings say to you is. Get them to stop repeating things because while it may be well intentioned, it's meddling and it isn't helping.

2) What your mother says to you is your business. If she's toeing the line, that's a win for now.

3) When your parents invite you to things, ask if Natasha is invited. If the girlfriend/boyfriends of your siblings are not invited, then fine - your parents are applying standards evenly and while you may not love their standards, changing those is not our goal here.

3a) If the boyfriends/girlfriends are invited and Natasha is not, then you don't go. You decline politely ("thank you for the invitation but I won't be able to attend") but you don't go. That is how you honour your partner and stand in solidarity as a unit. Weddings, funerals - there are no exceptions to this rule.

4) If/when you get married, the standard for #3 changes to spouses of your family peers.

5) If/when you have children, their attitude to Natasha may change but I'm not sure I'd count on it, to be honest - there are a lot of variables (like which of you gets pregnant, "well it's not like timapgonos/natasha is the father" etc) A new baby may break down all the barriers or it may just entrench them, and you should just know that going in.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:37 AM on July 25, 2013 [4 favorites]

Hmm, I guess I have a slightly different view, (on preview, not that different), which is that you can't police what she says to everyone. You can enforce standards of treatment of yourself, but what if she were saying these things to her friend? to her therapist? Where do you draw the line? At a certain point, her views are her views, and those views reflect on her and not on you.

To contradict myself a bit, since these comments are getting back to you, it may be worth saying something. What about "Mom, the negative things you've been saying about us are getting back to us. This is very upsetting to me. I want you to believe we'll be great parents! I also don't appreciate that you told Mary that we'd refused to go on a trip that you didn't even invite us on." But before doing this, consider that the result of this may just be that she modifies her comments to your siblings ("don't tell timapgonos I said this, but--").

I can only imagine how hard this must be and am sorry you are having to deal with this.
posted by salvia at 8:45 AM on July 25, 2013

This is an emotional minefield for both parties. Regardless about what should be acceptable to Joe Public and his child, this is your specific family and your specific life.

Being a lesbian is part of who you are, and if your mom has a stronger belief in her own personal moral code and lifelong expectations for you than she has openness and willingness to accept your life, it very may well be a part of who she is.

If this is the case, you really can't expect her to change and welcome you and your partner with open arms any more than she can expect you to drop Natasha and marry the first upstanding man you meet.

This is one of those unpleasant situations where in your own minds, you both are right, and the other is wrong.

You tried separation, with marginal success, so perhaps consistent distance is the way to go. I'm nearing 40 now, and my mother is nearing 70. With each year I try to be more tolerant of her unwelcome expectations (though I do not capitulate, I just understand from afar), and she realizes more and more there's only a finite amount of time we have left together, so her expectations have diminished. While not the storybook best, our relationship is better today than it ever was.

I have a daughter. While I don't think I would be bothered if she is a lesbian, I can generally imagine what it might feel like if my daughter rejected my moral code, my hopes and dreams for her, and "chose" an alternate life that I (right or wrong) felt was bad or immoral, because it's "who she is."

I can only parse this into a personal reality by imagining if my daughter wanted to be an exotic dancer or porn star, but I would be extremely displeased with this choice and it would cause a definite rift in our relationship. Using whatever denial and coping mechanisms I had, I would probably alternate between the "it's a phase" mentality and outright disapproval.

Mind you, I'm not trying to equate being a lesbian with being a porn star, just trying to put myself in your mother's shoes by envisioning something I would strongly disapprove of my daughter doing.

It does really honestly depend on the strength of your mom's misguided convictions, but if this is indeed a violation of her fundamental moral compass, a rough analogy for you would be after providing the best you and your wife can for your child, he or she grows up and joins the Westboro Baptist Church.

Live your life. I hope this includes a gradual inclusion of your mother in it, but change is best achieved through understanding, self-sacrifice, and patience. Be true to yourself, but understand where she may be coming from. Hopefully she'll realize she loves you more than her beliefs, but if she's close-minded, then it could be an impasse.
posted by Debaser626 at 8:51 AM on July 25, 2013

If she's an active mormon (as I am), tell her she's not being very Christ-like. You can also tell her she's gossiping, being petty, and destroying her family relationships. If she professes to live her religion, it's not just about avoiding arguing with someone directly, it's also about accepting them as they are, loving them, and not speaking badly to others about them.

Tell her "Mom, we want to have you in our life, but if you persist in your negativity and contention, we will stop involving you in it."
posted by blue_beetle at 9:03 AM on July 25, 2013 [17 favorites]

It might just take more time for your parents to come around. And not in the "we accept you and your partner!" way, but just in the "we are no longer extremely uncomfortable with this" way. In your situation, I'm the Natasha. My partner's parents (and some extended family) are extremely conservative Christians. They are missionaries in Africa and China. It's taken a decade of her being out for them to start to come around.

When we first started dating, they sat us down and gave me the "this is not god's plan" speech. That was over four years ago. Last week my partner's mom asked, unsolicited, if we were getting married so they could plan the cross-country trip to attend our wedding.

It's been a very, very slow journey to this point. They still do not accept that lesbians exist (partner's mom has an "ex-lesbian" friend that she wants us to meet) and do not approve of homosexuality in general. We are getting by on the "love the sinner, hate the sin" right now. It's very likely that we always will.

My partner did many years of limited contact with her parents. She loves them and they love her, but they do not make things easy for her. She was kicked out and excommunicated at 19 with her parents called to witness against her in church. Her parents are deaf to the idea that she could be hurt by the things they say. They cannot fathom that we do not live within their worldview. I don't think calling your parents out is going to do much. Asking your mother to stop discussing this with your siblings is probably going to be a more effective tactic than trying to get her to change her mind.

And as the Natasha here, let me just say that I'm doing fine. Better than fine. My partner is brave and strong and I think she's amazing for having to deal with the issues within her family. I am not hurt by her parents and the things they say. I hurt for her, but not because of her. Do what is right for you and yours. Stay strong.
posted by komlord at 9:52 AM on July 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

my mormon family kept my lesbian aunt out of their lives to differing degrees since the 90s. her parents went no contact for decades. her siblings chose various versions of accepting/loving her and rejecting her partner and her queerness. some of us never cared that the elders were being so judgey. some of my cousins took up the mantle and became even stronger homophobes. the treatment of her (along with a bunch of other factors) hurried my leaving the church (and coming out as bi). she was usually kind hearted and loving about the whole thing, but absolutely became closer to her partner's family. because some of my family couldn't love her more than their dogma, she was absent at too many gatherings - either by not being invited or not feeling welcome.

i was hoping that some of this was changing - as more cousins grew up, and being gay gained greater acceptance - but last year she died suddenly (and young) and all of our chances are gone. her funeral was an absolute clusterfuck as her family of birth sat with her family of choice. i'm still angry that my family pushed her away and kept me from having more time with her. i'm glad that i know (or at least hope) that she always knew where i stood, which was in her corner. i ache for my family who thinks they'll be able to repair this in this afterlife when her "dysfunction" has been cured. they've lost their time with her and some of them don't even know it.

i wish i had advice or some magic words to fix it. the only thing i can really say is that you need to just keep being awesome, and keep loving natasha, and keep relationships open with those who accept you. it's hard when there are still kids at home, but they'll eventually grow up, and as long as your parents aren't restricting your contact with them, you can still tend to those relationships while putting up boundaries with your mom.
posted by nadawi at 10:03 AM on July 25, 2013

(when i say "never cared" about the judgey - i of course mean that we never let the judgey influence us to think poorly of our aunt - we cared deeply that she was being treated so badly and thought poorly of those who did it)
posted by nadawi at 10:08 AM on July 25, 2013

As long as you are behaving in Way X to make her behave Way Y, this is going to be a losing battle. It sounds like you went no-contact to punish her and make her do what you want, which you say "worked for a while", but that's actually a little sick. You can't make her think or believe or say or do anything. She's wrong, but you don't have the right to manipulate her.

You can and should be detailed about the terms on which you will engage with her. At the very least, you should make gossip a dealbreaker as far as your interaction with her. Keep in mind that the goal is to take care of yourself, though, not control her behavior. You can't do that.
posted by Lyn Never at 10:24 AM on July 25, 2013

Tell your parents and your siblings that you don't want to hear Mom's opinions on your relationship or about Natasha: you don't want to hear it direct from Mom, and you don't want to hear it relayed through any of your siblings: your personal life is exactly that --- your personal life --- and Natasha is your partner, and should be given respect as such.

Tell them each exactly once, and if any of them tries to bring it up again after that, walk away/hang up the phone. Do not stick around to listen, do not discuss WHY you won't listen: just walk away.
posted by easily confused at 10:27 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Well, the good news is that you have a relationship with your parents. It could be a lot worse (A WHOLE LOT). You know from your upbringing that the traditional family is a BFD, and while your family is pretty traditional in MY eyes, your folks aren't there yet. Give them time.

Remember how one day in 1978, someone in the church woke up and said, "Hey! We'd get a lot more converts if we could include Black People!" Well, perhaps one day the president of the Church may wake up and say, "Hey! We'd get a lot more converts if we included gay people!"

Until then, your Mom is going to express her worry and discomfort by saying things that are upsetting to you. To put it in context though, my mother also says things that upset me sometimes. Because she is my mom and she can push my buttons pretty well.

If a family member starts a sentence with "Mom said this about you..." just stop them right there and say, "Don't tell me unless it's nice. If it's not nice, I don't want to know." If your Mom says something unkind simply say, "That really hurts my feelings, please don't say things like that to me."

At the end of the day your Mom feels how she feels. And it sucks that she disapproves and voices it, but you can't control it. What you can control is how you react to it.

"Mom and Dad, I love and respect you. I also love and respect my wife. Just as I wouldn't want to hear Natasha say mean things about you, I don't want to hear you say mean things about Natasha or our relationship/marriage. I understand that you are worried for me, and I love you for it, but it would mean the world to me if you would do that silently. I'll pray for you, and for the Church to have a change of heart, but even if it doesn't happen, I still love you."

I've been around through the Civil Rights Movement and Stonewall and I lived in San Francisco at the height of the AIDS epidemic. While I wish progress would have happened faster, I'm still amazed at how much has changed in such a short period of time.

Hang in there. Your parents love you, they just have a funny way of showing it.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:31 AM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

If your mother was really concerned about the welfare of her grandchild she wouldn't be poisoning the community and extended family against her and her parents and alienating her daughter and daughters partner. Ask her about that. Ask her if she thinks a child with heterosexual parents is better off with an extended family and a community that support the child and the chill's mother and father, or without. Why would a child with same sex parents be any different? How does any of what she is doing help your daughter? I think we know the answer, but your mother should have to spend some time face to face with what she's doing.

Good luck to all of you. I'm sorry your mother can't sort out her value system.
posted by Good Brain at 12:29 PM on July 25, 2013

I would draw very clear boundaries with these folks.

I don't think it's necessarily your business what your mom thinks and feels in her heart, but it is definitely your business when she's doing and saying stuff that's hurtful to you. So I'd say something like

"Mom, you keep saying critical things about me and Natasha to my siblings, and they keep getting back to me. You should know that it makes me feel alienated from you, and like going no-contact again.

I know you have reservations about me being gay, and I don't expect you to understand 100% right now. I hope your feelings might change over time, but I know that right now it is what it is. In the meantime, however, this is my life, it's not going to change, and if you want to be a part of my life, you're going to have to decide what's more important to you: Criticizing me to my siblings, or having a relationship with me."

Then I'd talk to my siblings too:

"Sibling, if Mom says something critical about me and Natasha to you, I don't want to hear about it. Please don't pass that stuff along."
posted by feets at 2:00 PM on July 25, 2013

...my mother is now making remarks to various siblings of mine...that "Natasha's" and my children will not turn out right, comparing the situation to my cousin's who grew up with a single mom and how they turned out without a father home...

I would find it very, very hard not to spitefully throw her "concern" for appropriate parenting right back in her face by pointing out that she raised a lesbian daughter.

I'm afraid this is a battle you really aren't going to win. I've seen similar situations before and, unless the parents come to the realization that their child is more important than their church, the only workable option is to simply estrange yourself from her. Over time, your siblings and others will most likely reach-out for a normal relationship. It's sad, I know.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:20 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

In the question, you say you don't understand and don't know how to cope with your mother's behavior. I've gone through something similar in terms of Mormonism, my own non-standard sexuality, and parents behaving badly. Consider figuring out how to "cope" with the behavior first, personally, and letting the understanding part come later, if at all. That will probably mean making a clear statement to your mother about what you are willing to listen to from her. But family situations like this change slowly and unpredictably. You are probably in for months or years of your mother continuing to do and say disparaging things to/about you. Coping with with that, IME, means re-orienting your emotional life to not be so vulnerable to what your parents think about you. This process includes mourning what you have lost in the relationship, or perhaps mourning the unconditional love that you never really received. It is an ongoing process -- for me, and for many people, the need for parental love and approval feels primal, and losing it is painful. But is the best thing for you, your partner, and your future children.
posted by unreadyhero at 3:18 PM on July 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older How to tell a superior you are giving me too much...   |   What exactly is really required for a Spainish... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.