Seeking mothers' advice on how to deal with my mother!


#1

Hello all,

Here is my situation: For the past year or so, my mother has been calling me every day, sometimes twice a day, just to talk. While I understand it’s nice for me to keep in touch, it has gotten to be excessive. If I don’t call her back within a few hours she freaks out. Lately, I’ve been trying not to answer every call and just text her telling her I’m busy but she just keeps going!

Today my mother called me at around 11 and I didn’t answer. She called me twice at 1 so the second time I picked up and told her I was sleeping. She called me again at 3 and I texted her and said I couldn’t talk, I really couldn’t though I was getting ready for mass. I check my phone at 9 tonight and she called and texted and had my dad call me. So I decided to tell her this has to stop.

As soon as I call she has this angry voice and she says what are you hiding from me, you never answer your phone, what is this? I explained to her that I am an adult now (I’m 21 and I’ve been away at college for the past 3 years) and I usually have things I have to do and I can’t sit around worrying that she’s panicking because I didn’t pick up my phone. I told her that I enjoy talking to her but it can’t be everyday or twice a day. She just said that this “church thing” hasn’t done anything to me I’m mean and I don’t understand the importance of family…etc. I tried to tell her that it is not an issue of family but that I need to assert my independence at some point and I think it is unhealthy for her to be calling me everyday and panicking if I don’t answer. I asked her if she will continue calling me today when I have a husband and kids and she just said yeah, why not?

I don’t know how to have a relationship with her because it feels unhealthy and codependent. If she had a boyfriend or more friends, I don’t think she would be calling me everyday. Just the other day I spoke to her and she said you sound weird, are you keeping secrets from me? This got me frustrated because I’m not a baby anymore and don’t need to tell her everything, I have my own life. The tactics she used to use on me don’t work anymore.

Does anybody know how to deal with a situation like this? I want her to see that I am my own person and I have my own life. I think she has a problem detaching and it’s just too stressful for me to deal with.

Thanks for reading and God bless!


#2

Oh, my heart goes out to your mother! She's obviously lonely and missing her baby girl. :o

Could you get her into emailing? That would allow her to say everything she needs to say, while still allowing you to respond when your schedule allows.


#3

Well that’s the issue, she doesn’t have anything to say to me. She just says hi, how’s it going, etc. There’s no point for the phone call except to see what’s going on. Even if I text her or talk to her online she still calls me.


#4

Hmm... Does she want to talk for a long time, or does she just want to "check in" during the absolutely least convenient moment of your day? :p


#5

That is really excessive. Your mom probably really does need therapy. Has she considered that?

I'm dealing with a similar situation with my mother, although not quite that extreme, where she got overly involved in my life following my divorce and her wanting me to run everything in my life by her and my stepfather. I've had to cut back my communication to be less frequent than I would like because I think we both need to reset our boundaries.

I recommend remaining respectful but firm. Do not get sucked into her emotions and any guilt trip she wants to pin on you. I would just let her know that her expectations are unreasonable and that not only can you not be available to her for such frequent communication but also that you shouldn't be. Then just be firm and stick with it.

Call her at intervals that you feel are appropriate and make them very brief if she is making accusations or laying guilt trips on you, longer if she is more reasonable. She might eventually get it...or not. Sorry. There is really not a whole lot that you can do other than put up some appropriate boundaries with her and be polite but respectful.


#6

I'm not a mother... but have you thought of calling your mom so that she doesn't feel like if she doesn't call she'll never hear from you? Maybe call her twice a week, take the initiative in telling her some stuff about you, even if it's boring stuff like you went for a run, tell her you love her.

Maybe she just needs that reassurance?


#7

Hi. I’m a mom.

I think you need to realize that you cannot change this situation all at once. For starters, how about agreeing to one phone call per day when you talk to your mom without putting her off. Decide on a time and stick to it. Maybe once in a while you could do the calling. If she calls you during the day at another time, text back and say something like, “Hi, Mom! I’m fine and I’ll talk to you at seven. Bye!” When you don’t put her off indefinitely, but only until the agreed time, she won’t feel like you’re avoiding her.

When this has worked for a while, then you can try stretching the interval by a day. “Hey, Mom, I’m going to be tied up all day tomorrow. How about if I call you the day after?” And then be sure you really call.

Try to be really pleasant about the whole thing. Maybe say that you understand it’s frustrating to her to keep trying to talk to you and not being able to.

Sometimes moms are a bundle of worries. When you don’t sound happy and you won’t talk about it, we jump to conclusions. Oh, no, she’s hiding something from me! And you are - at the very least you’re hiding how annoyed you really are. And you might be hiding something else.

I know you’re an adult at 21. You are making your own decisions about a lot of things without help from parents. Parents worry about that. You’ll always be their dear little baby, even when you’re 41! They want the best for you and for you to be truly happy. That said, is there something you’re hiding? If so, it might be better to get it out in the open so Mom is not using her imagination about it and making it 10 times worse than it really is.

My husband (age 54) talks to his dad every day. I talked to my mom almost every day while she was alive. It’s not so bad and weird, really! :slight_smile:

Betsy


#8

I’m a mom of two daughters, 25 and 28. We are a very close family, and I just love my girls to pieces, but I would never have dreamed of acting the way your mother is.

When they were in college, I knew how busy they were, and would call them only once a week; they actually called me more often - sometimes when they were just walking across campus en route to class, when they had something fun to share with us, etc. We used email frequently, and I would heartily suggest your mother gets familiar with this.

It is indeed time that you - calmly and respectfully - explain to your mother that you are an adult, your class schedule is demanding, and it is simply impossible for you to be available to talk on her schedule. I would suggest you set up a time when you will call her - perhaps every 2-3 days. And, then STICK TO IT!

This all sounds well and good, of course, but it likely won’t go smoothly, as it sounds as if your mom has too much time on her hands, and serious separation issues - not to mention difficulty respecting boundaries.

But, she can only intrude excessively like this if you let her…so don’t. It sounds as if you are an intelligent and mature young woman, and this is a tough one, but the ball is definitely in your court. God bless, and good luck with this.


#9

I’m not much older than you, but as an overly-anxious young mother of young children, I have to say I’m identifying more with your mother here. Not that the level of her need for communication is healthy, but I can absolutely see and feel where she’s coming from.

She likely needs a little therapy and a hobby or three. She needs to get out and get busy and lead a full life.

Are you far away from her? Consider the time of year. Are you going to see her for Christmas? Family holidays like this have a way of accentuating loneliness.

Be sympathetic, compassionate, and gentle with her, whatever you decide to do. You are her heart.

I suggest digging out old photos and giving her new sets of prints and scrapbooking supplies for Christmas, along with a list of local scrapbooking groups.

edited to add:
A quote I read years and years ago never really hit home for me until I had a child of my own. I think it applies here:

“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” --Elizabeth Stone


#10

[quote="dulcissima, post:5, topic:180442"]
That is really excessive. Your mom probably really does need therapy. Has she considered that?

[/quote]

I definitely think she needs it, I think she's needed it for years but she doesn't have the money and that's a whole other drama. Whenever I talk to hear I usually hear about her money problems and how she can't afford this or that and I can't handle it. It's too much stress put on me for a situation I did not help her get into and that I cannot change.

[quote="flyingfish, post:6, topic:180442"]
I'm not a mother... but have you thought of calling your mom so that she doesn't feel like if she doesn't call she'll never hear from you? Maybe call her twice a week, take the initiative in telling her some stuff about you, even if it's boring stuff like you went for a run, tell her you love her.

Maybe she just needs that reassurance?

[/quote]

That's the thing, I do call her. I used to call her just to say hi but now that's it's gotten to be too much I've tried to stop. A few days ago I was trying to subtly drop a hint after we ended our conversation in the morning. She told me that she had to go and she would call me later that night and I told her it was oskay, she didn't need to, she calls me enough but she said (jokingly, I hope) that she can't wait until the next time she calls me.

[quote="baltobetsy, post:7, topic:180442"]
Hi. I'm a mom.

I think you need to realize that you cannot change this situation all at once. For starters, how about agreeing to one phone call per day when you talk to your mom without putting her off. Decide on a time and stick to it. Maybe once in a while you could do the calling. If she calls you during the day at another time, text back and say something like, "Hi, Mom! I'm fine and I'll talk to you at seven. Bye!" When you don't put her off indefinitely, but only until the agreed time, she won't feel like you're avoiding her.

When this has worked for a while, then you can try stretching the interval by a day. "Hey, Mom, I'm going to be tied up all day tomorrow. How about if I call you the day after?" And then be sure you really call.

Betsy

[/quote]

It wouldn't be so bad if 1. she didn't freak out if I didn't pick up my phone. 2. She actually had something to tell me, rather than just hi and listing complaints. 3. She wouldn't get offended when I told her that she's calling me too much. She thinks that I am a bad person now and I have no concept of family because I think it's too excessive that she wants to talk to me like every 12 hours. She gets offended so quickly that I can never say anything opposite her viewpoint without a guilt trip.

[quote="dixieagle, post:8, topic:180442"]

It is indeed time that you - calmly and respectfully - explain to your mother that you are an adult, your class schedule is demanding, and it is simply impossible for you to be available to talk on her schedule. I would suggest you set up a time when you will call her - perhaps every 2-3 days. And, then STICK TO IT!

This all sounds well and good, of course, but it likely won't go smoothly, as it sounds as if your mom has too much time on her hands, and serious separation issues - not to mention difficulty respecting boundaries.

But, she can only intrude excessively like this if you let her...so don't. It sounds as if you are an intelligent and mature young woman, and this is a tough one, but the ball is definitely in your court. God bless, and good luck with this.

[/quote]

The annoying part is that I had talked to my dad about it a few days ago and he agreed with me but tonight she roped him in and he was mad at me for telling my mother this. I wish he would just be a man and stand up to her for once. (They're divorced btw)

[quote="milkbar, post:9, topic:180442"]
I'm not much older than you, but as an overly-anxious young mother of young children, I have to say I'm identifying more with your mother here. Not that the level of her need for communication is healthy, but I can absolutely see and feel where she's coming from.

She likely needs a little therapy and a hobby or three. She needs to get out and get busy and lead a full life.

Are you far away from her? Consider the time of year. Are you going to see her for Christmas? Family holidays like this have a way of accentuating loneliness.

Be sympathetic, compassionate, and gentle with her, whatever you decide to do. You are her heart.

I suggest digging out old photos and giving her new sets of prints and scrapbooking supplies for Christmas, along with a list of local scrapbooking groups.

edited to add:
A quote I read years and years ago never really hit home for me until I had a child of my own. I think it applies here:

"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." --Elizabeth Stone

[/quote]

I'm only 5 hours away by car from her and I was there for Thanksgiving and I'm coming for Christmas. She has also been up to visit me a few times since August. It's not like I drop off the face of the earth and she doesn't know what's going on. She always knows what I'm up to. I think the problem is that she has nothing to do and she's depressed, etc because she's going bankrupt and losing the house and all this stuff but it's not my fault. Whenever I go home I stay with her and I have to deal with her crying and saying her life isn't worth anything because she can't afford health insurance and she hates the job she has. I can't emotionally handle these episodes anymore that part of me just doesn't want to go home. Up where I am I have my apartment and no one bothers me. I understand that it's important to be there for your family but it's emotionally draining and really dysfunctional.

Sorry for the rant btw lol there's just so much with her.


#11

Basically with my mother it’s been years of dysfunction and now that I’m going through therapy and I’ve been really getting into my faith, I am able to step away from it and see what the problem is. I don’t know where to draw the line between I am a family member and I want to be there for her and this is too emotionally draining, it hurts me too much to hear it. It’s like when is she going to see that she is the mother and I am the child. I am not the one supposed to be listening to her crying and trying to cheer her up because no one else will listen anymore.
'
I used to get angry at my brother for just moving to NY and staying up there and barely visiting but now I get it. It’s too difficult to be around that. My sister is currently living with my mom and my mom has her in tears on a regular basis.

I feel guilty saying these things about her because she is my mom and has done a lot for me but I can’t just feel bad and ignore these feelings anymore. When I lived at home and we would get into an argument, I would end up crying in my room beating myself up because she’s my mother and she loves me. I would even hear from her sometimes that she’s the only one that’s ever there for me and if she wasn’t around no one would help me. Whenever I had a boyfriend and would fight with her about wanting to stay out later with him, or whatever the situation was, when we ended up breaking up later I would hear from my mom “Was it worth it fighting with me? See, he’s not around for you anymore but who still is? Me.”

Do all mothers say these things? Do they all act this way?


#12

They don’t all say things like that or act that way. But they all have their own little bit of crazy, trust me. Just… some more than others.

I don’t want to pry, but does she have a job? She sounds like she needs some big changes in her life. Is she Catholic?

Maybe she could go back to school. If she doesn’t already have a degree, she might qualify for Federal aid, especially with a child still at home and one in college too (and you count until you’re 24 or thereabouts [unless you get married before that]). Suggest she fill out a FAFSA for herself and look into school for a new direction in life. The medical field is booming…

Just throwing things out there. What you’re dealing with is not normal at all and it is very difficult. It’s just plain hard. Pray.


#13

[quote="milkbar, post:12, topic:180442"]
They don't all say things like that or act that way. But they all have their own little bit of crazy, trust me. Just... some more than others.

I don't want to pry, but does she have a job? She sounds like she needs some big changes in her life. Is she Catholic?

Maybe she could go back to school. If she doesn't already have a degree, she might qualify for Federal aid, especially with a child still at home and one in college too (and you count until you're 24 or thereabouts [unless you get married before that]). Suggest she fill out a FAFSA for herself and look into school for a new direction in life. The medical field is booming...

Just throwing things out there. What you're dealing with is not normal at all and it is very difficult. It's just plain hard. Pray.

[/quote]

This is a complicated answer so I'll try and explain it the best I can.

My mother used to be a real estate agent and then she met a metaphysical healer. She decided to become his business partner and help him build his name here. After about 7 years he screwed her over and left her with nothing. She was unemployed for a long time.

Before the unemployment though, my mother divorced my father and began to see a new man. He ended up moving in with us (us being me and my mom) but he didn't want to stay in a house where my father lived so they bought a new place together, which she stupidly put in her name.

They had a very up and down relationship which ended up badly. He stopped paying the apartment payments and she was stuck with it. When she lost her job, she couldn't afford it anymore and she already had huge credit card debts and past IRS debt. She had also been bankrupt with my father before.

My mother decided to go to massage school, which my grandfather paid for, and she has been trying to make a living from that. She has been living rent free in the apartment for a while but they are going to evict her any time soon.

So yes, she does have a job but it doesn't pay well and she doesn't have any stability really. She doesn't know where she's going next and can't afford to pay her bills most of the time. Luckily, my sister moved back in with her after my sister's divorce and pays her about 500 a month which basically pays the bills.

My mother is in a very bad situation now, which I understand and try and help her with, but I can't handle the stress of it anymore. She has always been very irresponsible with money and the problem is that my grandfather always bailed her out so she's never had to really learn the consequences and shape up with her spending habits. She dug herself a huge hole and now she's stuck in it.

As far as her faith, she's tried everything. She used to be Catholic but I don't think she really ever knew all that much about the faith. What she is really into is new age things which she always tries to impose on me. It's Reiki and psychics and the law of attraction and on and on. Now it's Kabbalah. This has caused a rift between us because she thinks I'm crazy, and so does the rest of my family. They think I'm some religious nut and when I go home, I feel like I don't fit in.

My mother is 55 with no money and no real job and no permanent home. I try to help but it's too much for me to handle. I can barely pay my own bills, let alone worry about hers.


#14

w2bp88 your mom sounds very, very similar to my MIL except my MIL is still a practicing Catholic. It is very challenging for my dh and his sister, who by God’s grace are both happily married. I really care about my MIL but I have actually had to detatch myself somewhat over the years for my own sanity. She is in her early 60s and retired. Same issues with divorce, emotional chaos, financial irresponsibility etc. She does manage to still guilt trip her children a lot and say things like “I can’t believe you would do that to me! I was up all night crying and couldn’t sleep thinking where did I go wrong?”. :rolleyes::confused:

Her two children are wonderful and have solid happy marriages. Their spouses have spent lots of time reassuring them and helping them put some boundaries in place. We have never lived close to my MIL but my husbands sister and her husband do. Many times my SIL has rung me in tears because of the behavior you describe. Of course we all love and care about her but it is very hard because at times she tries to make her grown children responsible for her. But when they do try to help MIL only really wants them to do exactly as she says.

For example when trying to help her financially my SIL set up a savings account in joint names so her mom could save regularly and would need to get her daughter’s signature to withdraw money. That didn’t last long as MIL started yelling at her saying “Your trying to control me and treat me like a child!” because she wanted to get all the money out for an impulse purchase.

My MIL has many lovely qualities. She is very kind and lots of fun but she does not have any close friends or interests (except shopping) and it seems would love to stay emeshed with her children permanently if she could force it.

So, I believe all you can do is pray, pray, pray. Love your mom but you MUST MUST MUST put those healthy boundaries in place as you are trying to do right now. If your mom is anything like my MIL she doesn’t even see boundaries, so you can expect anger from her. But you are right. You are an adult and you cannot solve her problems.


#15

One day I was in Hobby Lobby, I saw something and wanted to call my to tell her about it. I realized she was out of the country and her cell would not work.

As I walked about, it dawend on me that someday I will reach for my phone and there will be no way to reach my mom, because she will have left this life.

If one text every day makes your mom know that you love her, how on EARTH can that hurt?


#16

It is quite clear from reading the OP’s posts that “one text every day” is NOT enough for this very immature, dysfunctional, self-destructive parent. If one text message daily could solve the problem, the OP wouldn’t have posted!


#17

I am so very sorry that you have to deal with this. Your mother clearly has a multitude of problems that are beyond your control. Additionally, she is likely envious of the fact that you are pursuing your education (I gather you are self supporting or using loans?) and plan to make something of yourself; she evidently also may resent your newfound faith.

She has made quite a mess of things, and it is not up to you to straighten it out - in fact, no one can but your mother. Encourage her, as another poster mentioned, to pursue some training or education (there may be special money available now for women going back to school, I believe…) Any health-related field is booming, and some take little training (for example, pharmacy tech training is brief and there are tons of jobs.)

Sadly, sometimes there really isn’t anything we can do, except follow the straight and narrow ourselves. While “honor thy father and mother” is indeed a commandment, we are not obligated to drive ourselves crazy in the process. You must show respect, but live your own life according to what you know is right. All you can do is make those occasional calls, send those texts, express your love and concern…and do your best to make sure the cycle is not repeated in your life (obviously, you are doing your best in that regard by getting your degree - don’t let her neediness derail that!)

God bless.


#18

That's funny! I am 31 years old my mother and I never had a good relationship yet she's always calling me and I mean always...I live several states away central Il and they live in Cali...So when I don't call her on a daily basis it turns to "you are ungrateful after everything I have done for you! etc etc etc" No matter how many times I tried to explain to her that I am busy, mother of 3, working and before was going to school, have 2 dogs and am now pg, with a fiance in other words have my own family as well!!! Even before with my exhusband was the same thing! Nothing changes...

I told her one day I was really busy with the kids, the kids were screaming in the background playing horsing around getting rowdy, she heard the commotion and told me what was I doing to go take care of my kids before they hurt themselves...then I told her well if you would allow me to maybe I would! She finally stopped calling me 24/7 now it's once a day and sometimes not even...if I call her once a day it's a miracle!

My fiance's family lives down the road pretty much, and his mother throws a huge psychological fit if he doesn't call her every day!! I MEAN EVERYDAY! And they live down the road just about!!! It's ridiculous! And she doesn't want to hear him make something quick no she has to give him a lecture about how dirty his house is, if he stopped being a slob, etc...never something nice...it's always something mean or rude...for about an hour and then his father gets on the phone and it's a 2 hour long conversation over responsibilities on a daily basis! It's like are you serious? Are they not understanding that we are both adults, now we both work, he helps me with the kids and the house still ..then things fell apart and we had been at peace for about 3 months not hearing his parents but had to tell them the news about the baby now fiance and parents are reconciled and talking again...fiance told them he has a family and his own life, he is busy and can't call every day...they started nagging at him that his brother is busy but always calls and that his sister is busy and always calls...he didnt' get to tell them that they don't have any kids to help with, his sister just has one and her mother practically lives with her helping her on a daily basis, we have no one to help us except for ourselves, he helps me with my kids, and even though they don't care!

So honey the best thing to do is just set your phone to vibration, and when you have the time pick it up...

My daughter is 11, and I have to know she's ok on a constant basis, I text her when she's at her friends and call her when she stays the night I will do that every hour or so, doesn't mean she can't just really quick text me back saying "im ok thank you will call you later!" That puts my mind at ease, I am not my mother nor my fiance's mother, i don't go all psycho if she doesnt write me a book or talks to me for an hour...I know she's soon going to be a teen and needs her own space privacy and time, but even though with these days in age, a little reassurance that she's ok will not hurt her!!! Even if it was every 30 mins...

Yes your mother sounds like she needs to find a hobby and that would be a great thing for you to do if you are able to contact your church have the pastor and service people try and get her involved in the church that will get her a circle of friends going and will allow you to have more independence!

Keeping in touch may be annoying sometimes, but you just gotta go with it...remember your mother won't be around forever and the one whom will always be there for you is her! So don't take her for granted let her know you love her and miss her and that you will try to talk to her as soon as you are able to but try to get her busy so she doesn't spend all her time stressing over you...It will help you both have a better relationship...

GOD bless and Merry Christmas!


#19

Hi Everybody! My mother has been controling me since I was a child. She was a lousy mother but I have forgiven her.

My Mom is now 87yrs.old living alone with everything she needs. But she still likes to call me to ask me to go to the grocery store to buy her something on sale. I am 70yrs.old and have a vision problem and arthritis in my knees.

For many years she would call me and ask me if I was on drugs because I slept too much.
Or..... she would say, "Did you forget you have a mother? Those are fighting words.

I keep telling her that she has already done her job in raising us 4 siblings. We all are now seniors and have our own lives. She gets angry and hangs up on me. She has learned not to call me too much anymore with her stupid so-called problems.

My Mom can make me cry by saying mean things to me like, " I never wanted you to be born". "You are ugly like your father". "Your adult son doesn't really like you which I already know it to be true". My adult son hardly ever invites me to his house because his wife doesn't like me or her parents and relatives. I keep my distance but stay friendly with my son. My Mom tries really hard to cause problems between me and my relatives.

Recently my Mom was in the emergency hospital with high blood pressure problem.
My Mom told the nurse that she had a really mean daughter.
When I got to the emergency room I took my Bible and I started praying for her to get better. The nurse came in and asked who was the mean daughter? I said, "ME"....
The nurse said, "you don't look mean to me." My mom loves to tell people that I am a really mean daughter so I was prepared to say I am the mean daughter.

W2bp88, My advise to you is try to call your mom when you know she will be busy.
She will not stay on the phone too long. You can also tell her what your plans are for the next day and just say you don't have time to talk to her.
You can also tell your sister who lives with your mom that you don't want to speak to your mom for one week if your mom gets you angry or makes you cry on a phone call.
All of these ideas have worked for me.

YOU CAN'T DEVOTE YOUR LIFE TO A TOXIC MOTHER who just needs attention and is being selfish and self centered. You need to learn to stop her from harrassing and depressing you. She is stronger than you think. She just wants you to worry about her.
Your mom is a grass-hopper like my mom who expects others to financially take care of her needs. Your the bird that has flown away to have your own life. I am really happy for you and hope that you learn not to let your mom control and manipulate you.
You also need to point out her flaws too so she doesn't think she is so perfect and you are so bad. Your mom is a survivor and doesn't really need to be messing up your life.

People who are into metaphysics and psychics are mostly losers who live on dreams and hope their problems can be taken care of without using their own energy to get what they want out of life. They are mostly people who get stuck in time and don't move into a future to take care of themselves. Your mom prefers to just complain about her lousy life but not do anything to change her life for the better.

Today my mom called me while I was eating a nice lunch. I chose not to answer the phone until I finished my meal. She had nothing important to say to me anyway.

Don't let your mom get in the way of the things you have to do in life. My advise is to move away too like your brother did.


#20

I wish my mom was still here to talk to every day. Now my dad calls every day. We never had much of a relationship before mom died, so we still don't have a whole lot to say to each other. But he calls everyday. If I don't answer, he just keeps calling, never leaves a message. At first it made me angry, now I just shake my head and smile. I know the day will come that he won't be calling all the time just to see what I'm doing.
Let it go. Really in the grand scheme of life, it's not a big deal.


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