family troubles..

I would rather not go into too much detail with this but I’d be grateful to anyone for some prayers or encouragement.

I became Catholic a few years ago and since then, my relationship with my mom has been deteriorating. This has been partly because of my decisions with the faith (not directly, but things like discernment of my life, modesty, etc), and also - sadly - my mistakes and sins. I have not showed enough the joy of knowing God as I began to struggle with scruples and other similar trials shortly after my conversion, and it took me a while to learn how to remain joyful during this. I am not making any excuses for how I was and am though. Also I have not always been respectful to my mom and sometimes I got very upset during discussions with her instead of just calmly listening.

Recently, my mom has been concerned with a couple ways she sees me as not taking care of my health enough. I began to try doing this but sometimes I’d forget or be overwhelmed, or I’d look unhappy doing something. I should say that the last little while I’ve been kind of a nervous wreck because of arguments at home, including some that happened because of vocations / me not being married. Sometimes it would improve if I would spend more time with God, but today has been a difficult day.

Anyways, it seems I’m really affecting my mom with all this. Her health has been affected, our relationship is deteriorating, she seems really depressed and sometimes says things that really shock me. I am afraid I have also caused her to reject the Church because she blames it for what has happened to me. Some things are my own sins or mistakes that of course are not from the Church. Other things that have caused disagreements are aspects of my relationship with God, and I think my mom may be misunderstanding my motives. Yet if I were to say my motives, I’m afraid that would make it even worse because of disagreements we have on those topics.

I am going through intense guilt right now and to be honest - I’m not complaining but I’m just having a really hard time. I have tried to be more joyful and to follow what my mom wanted me to do with health, but sometimes I’d slip up and it would all fall apart again. I’m afraid I caused too much damage that cannot be undone. I’m terrified what would happen in the future. To my mom, if I do not marry it would be a tragedy and based on our discussions in the past, I’m afraid it would even endanger my mom’s life. I’m afraid about how I’ve been affecting her spiritually as well.

I am trying to seek God’s will for me and discern my life but all this fear has been making it difficult.

I am not expecting an easy solution but I’m just at the end of my rope right now. I have no idea what to do because even if I try to fix my past mistakes, the damage seems to go very deep. Not to mention that even if all would be fixed, it is likely to fall apart because of other disagreements. I’m praying for my mom… Something always seems to happen, so I think her worries about me get renewed each time. I know she is suffering because she is worried for me. I’ve tried to see it from her perspective. I just don’t know what to do and I’m feeling very strong guilt / hopelessness. I’m trying to make acts of trust in God…

I hope this doesn’t sound very crazy or pathetic. If anyone has any advice I’d be thankful… God bless

Thank you for sharing, I am glad that you posted and asked for prayer. Clearly you are a loving daughter and care very much about your mother!

This part of your post literally felt like it jumped off the screen at me. I had to read it three times before the words sunk in. Do you really believe this or are you exaggerating? If your mother has this kind of pressure on you, with all Christian charity how can you have a healthy relationship with her? This is not healthy but you probably already knew that. Marriage is not the key to a happy life, marriage is something that God either calls you to or He doesn’t, it is up to God not your mother.

Thank you for the reply…

What I meant is that my mom’s health can be shakey, because of her age, at times when she is stressed she gets symptoms that are potentially very serious - I hope nothing would happen though. But me marrying is such a big deal to her that I’m afraid how the topic could affect her health. I don’t think I’m exaggerating my mom’s views on marriage, based on what she has said. I’m an only child too. I am not blaming her for this, I believe its because she cares for me… But the fact that I’m not married is a huge concern for her.

Some of our disagreements are faith related. My family grew up without any religion. There hasn’t been any exposure to different vocations, or Christianity in general, until much later. So I understand some things that are not that new to me, are new to her.

I’m not sure sometimes how to discern my path because I get so paralyzed with fear. I don’t turn away but I feel like with every step, I’m coming closer to some horrible catastrophe in my family. Yet how can I just not care what God wants of me? I can’t… I need to seek His will. I’m trying to pray and trust Him but every year it gets worse, so I’m praying for a miracle.

How old are you? How old is she? Do you live at home?

I’m 30, she’s in her 60s, and I don’t live at home.

I believe if God is calling you to a certain state of life, He will pave the way for you in His own time.

By the way, I enjoyed reading your blog. Very informative.

This is something to talk over with your spiritual director. You seem to be trying to take her happiness, her health, her religious practice (or lack thereof) onto your shoulders.

She’s 60 years old. She is responsible for herself.

You looking happy or not looking happy – what does that have to do with anything? Why are you at fault because you don’t happen to look happy one day?

You are taking WAY too much on yourself. I think this is your scruples manifesting themselves as responsibility for everyone and everything.

That is not realistic. And it gives others way too much power to manipulate you.

I pretty much gave up my life because my mother wanted me to live a certain way, i.e. not be a teacher, not marry because she wanted me to stay home with her instead. I didn’t marry until I turned 48, long after she passed away.

I did meet a wonderful man so it turned it well, but I waited so long to marry that I never had kids.

What I am saying is that you must live the life God has chosen for you. To give up whatever vocation you have because someone else expects you to is not a good idea. You will have peace when you do God’s will.

Your mother is controlling you through fear and guilt.

Please take care of your health. You don’t need to tell your mother your every thought either if it upsets you both to do so.

If your not marrying causes an endangerment to your mom’s life, she has serious issues to work through.

You can meet with your priest to discuss your mother’s actions, because you need to discern your vocation in life, without unheathy interference.

I guess I do see it my responsibility in terms of being a good example of a Catholic. Often I’m not. :frowning: if I push someone away that is serious…

I also believe my mom is just anxious for me and she does love me very much. We dont see eye to eye on some things.

I am currently trying to deal with my feelings about this - fear is a common emotion as well as some type of grief.

Hi Monica4316,

It’s as 1ke said.

You’re only responsible for yourself.

You’re not responsible for making anyone else happy.

You’re not responsible for their feelings, or how they respond to you, either–whether they’re happy or sad, angry–whatever.

Excellent advice from the posters above me.

I’ll just add that I’m praying for both of you. :slight_smile:

I don’t think you should try to push her away or distance yourself etc but I think you need to build a new healthier relationship with your mama.
There needs to be a balance between being kind and honouring your parents but still being yourself and not people pleasing.

Maybe you could talk less to her personally about religious things (for a while) at least and talk about some other things so that she doesn’t get “turned off” by (what she perceives) as hyperreligiousness?

I second other posters, it’s not your responsibility for her happiness. She should be happy seeing you happy and that can’t happen while you’re anxious like this.

Step back. I can relate, my mum said I was a disappointment to her because I’m not married, yet a couple of years ago she freaked out when I was seeing a guy because of the possibility of me not being at home with her anymore!
I’m a convert too and have felt disappointed at times I can’t be a good witness to the faith because my life is all over the place. Another young woman I’m friends with is suffering too after converting and her non-Christian sister remarked “Well converting to Catholicism didn’t do you much good did it?”
But we have to show others that we have strength in Christ. and trust, and when things change and we grow better from it they will see prayer and Christ working.

I don’t expect my mum to convert anytime soon. She’s a stubborn woman. When I first converted she wasn’t happy, being from England there seems to be still a lot of anti-Catholicism here and I had to cop that from her, but she very slowly over the past 4 years has taken on board Catholic ideology, she prays more and even attends church on occasion.
I think she will convert in the end and I don’t stress myself over that, it’s between her and God. All I can do is pray, get on with my own life, persevere and I hope, be a good person to show others Christ.

Saving your mother is not your job, Jesus already did that!

As for inspiring your mother’s heart, that is the job of the Holy Spirit! It is His job to touch your mother’s heart and inspire love and faith in her, not you, this is a good thing!

God the Father loves your mother very much, even more than you do! He created your mother and planned for her existence since the beginning of time. He has wonderful plans for her!

Remember to trust in the Holy Trinity when you are in despair and remember when Jesus walked the earth: Jesus was perfect, Jesus was the God-man and knew everyone that He came in contact with perfectly didn’t He? Yet, what did MOST people that met Jesus in the flesh do? They walked away from Jesus! So, if people can walk away from Jesus who was perfect, they can certainly walk away from you and I and everyone else who are imperfect!

Turn your mother over to God and let her go, her soul is not your responsibility but you probably already knew that.

Thank you for the replies :slight_smile:

I understand I’m not responsible for my mom… I think what I meant is that what if God is trying to bring her to Himself, and I’m making it harder. I can just keep living but I’m nervous what would happen with my vocation and my mom’s response to that. I know Jesus wants us to not worry and think about the present day…

I do try to talk to my mom about various things, I don’t speak about religion as much… Of course she does see its a big part of my life. I think it frightens her I’m spending so much time in church (I’m involved at my parish as well) instead of going to places where I’d meet young men.

I am not disagreeing with you… Thank you for the advice :slight_smile: I want to try and worry less even when things don’t seem to go so well, and just trust. If anyone could remember my mom and I in your prayers I’d be very grateful. God bless you :slight_smile:

Thank you for this, please draw on the strength of St. Monica. I have taken her as my patron saint she won’t let you down!

St. Monica was in anguish for years over her son Augustine she loved him so much. Through her prayer Augustine was finally converted, however (this is key here) Monica was NOT the person that was directly inspirational at the time of Augustine’s actual conversion,St. Ambrose was.

I love this example because it shows though a beautiful and saintly example that sometimes we are so close to someone that no matter how holy we are, we are sometimes ineffective in communicating the truth of the Gospel, especially when we are fallen and make mistakes. Family members often have patterns of communication and habits that go back for decades. They have biases against one another that are hard to break, sometimes an outsider can be more effective. You may not be the one that directly brings your mother into the church, instead pray for a “St. Ambrose” to come into your mother’s life!

God bless and please be assured of my prayers.

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