Trying to deal with past and mother


I’m not sure how to write all this out but I’ll ramble to the best of my ability.

Starting sometime last week I noticed a desire, a pull if you will, to pray the Rosary. I finally surrendered to it Monday night and have decided to continue until I feel pulled towards another prayer or style of prayer. Last night, after I had nearly finished praying the last decade I remembered that my mother kept a rosary on the one end table in our living room on top of a book of prayers and Ligouri magazine when I still lived with my parents. Now, I always felt and saw that my mother’s understanding and living of her faith (she’s a cradle Catholic by the way) was pretty much limited to going to Mass and living her way the rest of the week. Now, I have no idea if she prayed the Rosary or not.

This memory also brings up a lot of bad memories of my mother. Now I won’t go into detail here but sufficent to say there are not many pleasant ones. I’m working on forgiving her but with the memory of the rosary last night all of sudden I felt that somehow I would have to have a relationship that I don’t want with her, that I would have to connect with her in a way that she would manipulate to hurt me, that I would have to love her in a way that I don’t and don’t feel compelled to, that I would forgive her and she would take it as a liscence to continue to hurt me, that I would have to give up everything that I accomplished since I left home and start listening and doing what she wants. In short, I would have to sacrifice me to make her happy, to make others happy, to make God happy, and that whatever I decided would be wrong no matter what and that I would lose.

My thoughts wandered to the point that she would some how find out that I was praying the Rosary and that she would make me pray with her(if she prayed it) and that I would be forced into a relationship with her. And be forced to move back home though I have made it pretty clear that won’t happen. My mother won’t listen to me and constantly brings the subject up (I ignore it) and constantly belittles any choices and accomplishments I’ve made.

Now I don’t talk to my parents except through email, the occasional phone call, and that’s it. I have also read Children of the Self-Absorbed by Nina Brown since I kept coming across it on these forums.

Now I guess, I’m trying to figure where this all came from. Unfortunately, I’m pretty financially dependent on them currently. I am working or trying to work and looking to find a new job and feel so guiltly and worthless having to ask for money and not being able to support myself. So I’m wandering if this all coming from worrying about money or if it’s more than that.

Now I know that I am not a horrible person but sometimes I still feel that way and this situation isn’t help.

Thanks for letting me vent. I’m not sure how much help this has been except that now other people will read it which really doesn’t bother me. And I’m not sure what I’m looking for by posting here.

Thanks again.


If you are over 18 you don’t have to obey your parents when they ask unreasonable things of you or demand you sacrifice your life to their desires.

It isn’t praying the rosary that has got you in a tail spin it’s the memories of your mother and how she used it and other good things to manipulate you, am I right?

God won’t expect you to give in to your parents or live your life according to what they want. Once you have become an adult you owe your parents honor but not obedience. They should respect you as another adult, and if they can’t do that then you do not have to make them any more a part of your life than necessary.

Have you ever considered getting counseling for this getting over the way your parents have abused you? I think it would help you a lot. God bless you–I will pray for you. :slight_smile:


[quote=Pacbox]I’m This memory also brings up a lot of bad memories of my mother.
Now I guess, I’m trying to figure where this all came from. .

perhaps this arose while you were praying the rosary with Mother Mary in order to help you deal with remembering in order that you may forgive and begin healing in that way. do you recall the mystery you were contemplating at the time? that may give you a clue on what is going on in your “spiritual subconscience”. Can you get some pastoral counselling to help you reach a point where you are at least ready to consider the possiblity of someday being able to forgive her? Can you pray for that to happen?


I know it probably doesn’t feel like it right now, but your pull towards the Rosary was the first step on the road of healing your relationship with your mother. All the fears that step brings up are natural fears. It will take a lot of trust in the Lord to go forward with deepening your prayer life and devotion to Him and trust that what HE has in mind for your relationship with your mother is the right thing.

Just take it one step at a time. Don’t give into the fears. You are being loved and protected. Trust that.


Sounds like our Blessed Mother is taking you by the hand!

I had my own issues with my Mother. I know now that she tried the best she could - and she is still self-absorbed at times.

Here is what helps me have a relationship with my mother:

  1. Don’t stop praying for help with your relationship with her.
  2. Pray for your mother - God can and does do miricles with the most difficult people (for Example St. Paul!!!)
  3. Don’t be afraid to set some ground rules. THere are subjects that my Mom and I don’t discuss. If our conversations seems to be straying close to one of those, then I stop and mention that we’re getting too close to a subject we agreed not to discuss but “that I will pray for her”. She always smiles (sometimes with a bit of a grimace) and our relationship is left intact.

I have children now and my Mom respects how I am raising my daughters Catholic. (Which by the way - having children is a special gift and grace and can be a way to have the Mother/child relationship you always wanted - but in reverse!!!)

So…PRay, Pray, Pray!

Ah, one more thing - if you are financially dependant on them, they may make some demands that are justified or not…I don’t know your situation - However, if it is the money or your Faith - Choose Faith.


Thanks for all the replies and advice.

I felt that I left stuff out but there isn’t much that can be done about that after it’s written. Writing it out helped and I wasn’t harping on all yesterday or last night so it worked out well.

Now I communicate with my parents on my terms. I only email them when necessary and only talk to them on the phone when necessary. I live out of state and 1200 miles away from them. I also told them repeatedly that I will not move back home. I have come to the conclusion that my mother treats me like a child still because she can’t stand the fact that I am an adult and can make choices on my own. I know that I am the more mature one and that she will not act mature on purpose to feed her issues. I feel that she has to have control over my life to make her feel powerful and important. That’s her problem, not mine.

Now I have forgiven her on some smaller things and working my way up to forgiving her for her abuse of me. I haven’t told her that I have forgiven her because I know that she will turn it around and make it all my fault and turn it into something bad. Again her problem, not mine.

Thanks for lettinge me air this all out here and the advice and replies.


you know you made me think with your story about being drawn to the rosary. when kids were in high school I began praying the rosary again as a way to deal with worrying when they were out, going thru problems etc. I had always had a rocky relationship with my mother, but from that time when I returned to the rosary after a lapse of 20 years, and gradually became less rebellious about Church laws and teachings, commandments, bosses, authority in general.

Also from that time my relationship with my mom gradually became better. I began to be able to see things from her point of view, understand what she might have been going thru that made her the type of mother she was, have more empathy etc. She also shared with me about this time her problems with her own mother.

It took quite a while, and lots of conflicts with my own daughters (we are pretty good friends now that they have their own kids) but I have forgiven my mom for a lot, and forgiven myself for a lot of grief I gave her, and really miss her now that she is gone.

thanks for the reminder, I will pray for her tonite, I am going out walking because I did not get to do my rosary walk this morning, had an early meeting.



Have you considered counseling to heal from this parental relationship? It seems like whatever the issues with your mother, they are very wounding for you. Try to embrace Our Lady as your mother figure and know that she cares for you perfectly, even if your biological mother is incapable of knowing or understanding the needs you have.



I think you’re starting the healing process. You have a good accounting of your accomplishments and you realize that a closer relationship with your mother might derail your forward progress.

I suggest you stay in your comfort zone, continue pray the Rosary, but also pray for your mother. Ask God to help her to change for the better. Stay in contact with you parents as best you can, but don’t sacrifice your healing process because you think you owe them your obedience. You’re an adult.

I was not close to my father. I didn’t realize the extent of the damage I felt until he died. I don’t have any regrets, we both came out even in the end. I carried around a grudge for 14 years and it had a very negative affect on my life and my relationships with men. When I made the decision to join the Catholic church and to trust in God, the burden of that grude was lifted. I think if he were still alive, I would like to tell him how he hurt me when I was young and why I was astranged from him for much of my adulthood.

Pray and trust is God’s will. :thumbsup:


Your situation sounds a lot like my husband and his mother’s relationship. He was also abused, but emotionally and physically by both parents. His mother is very controlling. She used the Catholic Church also against him. She hates the Church. She was abused by nuns in a boarding school when she was a little girl, so she tells us. Her sister says that the nuns were great, so I don’t know who is telling the truth. She started to hate the Church when she remarried her current husband. I think that is the reason. But anyway, his mother suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder. My husband has this also and it is a very difficult disorder. His mother tries to control us, but is unable to. We don’t call her much. When I was planning our wedding, I wanted red dresses for the girls but my husband’s mother hates red and tried numerous times to get me to pick pink. I finally told her it will be red and I won’t change my mind. My husband stopped argueing with her for a psychologist said that she likes that and needs it, but that if he argued back with her it would be never ending. He tells her he will hang up if she doesn’t change the subject. I am more shy, so she talks negatively about the Church to me and about my husbands father. Does your mother see a psychologist? I went through the first 5 years of our marriage not knowing of the mental illness in my husband’s family. When I read a book about Borderlines, it helped so much. It taught me how to talk and listen to my husband and helped us overall. I used to pray a lot and still do, but at the times I didn’t know why my husband was so manipulative, angry and controlling, I prayed many Rosaries. Our Lady, my Mother, helped so much. She would slowly help me see that something was wrong with the way my husband and mother-in-law think. She helped me in my pregnancy and in the marriage. I wanted to get a divorce many times and we have only been married now 7 years. I can’t have more children until he gets treatment and gets better. With God, I know he will get better. He needs to pray more and go to Mass daily. We both can do that, but he hasn’t been doing it. I hope and pray for you and your mother. I think what your doing on setting limits on your conversation is exactly what needs to be done for now. I will pray for both of you. I really felt called to tell you about my mother-in-law and husband. Maybe, it will help. I can help you find out more of it if you need to find out more. By the way, your not a horrible person. My husband was told my his mother all his life that he was no good and would never amount to anything. When he was studying to be a priest, she thought he was making the biggest mistake of his life. She would tell him that no one would ever love him. Sad huh? Your not a horrible person and neither is my husband even though that is what he thinks because of what he was told all his life. God Bless.


[quote=nana3]. She hates the Church. She was abused by nuns in a boarding school when she was a little girl, so she tells us. Her sister says that the nuns were great, so I don’t know who is telling the truth.


visiting with my brother this week, and chatting about our parents, we each have entirely different recollections about certain events, our parents’ personalities, discipline etc. thre is a 12 year age difference, which may have something to do with it, also one of us was a rebellious hell-raiser and one was not, so that also may color our memories, but the point is we both have unresolved baggage about our relationship with our parents, but for both of us, we are reacting to our memory and perception, not to reality. I think we both need a shrink. I did share with him that praying the rosary has been a huge part of healing my bad family memories, but don’t know if he beleives it.


nana3, puzzeleannie, thanks for the further posts.

No, my mother does not see a pyschologist and if I ever mentioned would end up being turned against me because ‘however could you think like that about your own mother.’ :rolleyes:

I’m not entirely sure what my mother’s education was like but I believe most of it came from public schools since her father was in the army and they had to move a lot.

My impression of her practicing of her faith is you go to church and confession at least once a year and you’re okay. This was all I ever saw her do. Mind you, if she heard anything in the homily that emphasised obedience to parents or referenced hell then she would directly and blatantly point out as soon as we were getting into the car after Mass how I needed to listen and obey her every word because Father said so.

She was also fond of condemning me to hell if I did something she didn’t like or especially if one of my sisters misbehaved. Their misbehavior was always my fault and so I was the one that would go to hell since they were innocent. My mother was pretty emotionally and verbally abusive. She thinks there is nothing wrong with this because I was a ‘bad’ child. :ehh: I was actually a rather well behaved child since I was constantly in fear of being spanked or punished or yelled at.


[quote=puzzleannie]visiting with my brother this week, and chatting about our parents, we each have entirely different recollections about certain events, our parents’ personalities, discipline etc. thre is a 12 year age difference, which may have something to do with it, also one of us was a rebellious hell-raiser and one was not, so that also may color our memories, but the point is we both have unresolved baggage about our relationship with our parents, but for both of us, we are reacting to our memory and perception, not to reality. I think we both need a shrink. I did share with him that praying the rosary has been a huge part of healing my bad family memories, but don’t know if he beleives it.

This is so so so so true. We all experience the same events differently due to a unique perspective and this is extremely true in my own family of origin as well.


Thanks everyone for the posts. And perspective does change from person to person within a family and even outside the family. I’ve had people tell my mother is nice and wonderful and that I am a liar to say any such things. My sisters have told me this when I talked to them about how we’ve been treated differently. That’s because, straight from my mother’s mouth, they are more important and more worthy and more loveable than I am.

Though I can say her treatment of me has not had the expected results. I’ve turned out, hopefully, into a pretty decent, kind and considerate person who focuses on how I can help others than being focused solely on myself. Take my Bachelors and soon to be second Bachelors: Anthropology and Criminal Justice, respectively. I may or may not be a mother someday (that’s up to God to decide and currently He hasn’t told me anything except that I am to be single at this stage in my life) but still feel called to protect, to serve, and to defend especially children since often they have no voice and are not heard.

My determination to not anger her has made me a determined and disciplined student who has completed one degree and will since start working on another degree. I lived in another country for a year which college allowed me to do. That year was the year that I felt the freeist. My family was several thousand miles away on another continent separated by an ocean halfway aroung the world.

And look at how my sisters have turned out. The two middle ones (I have 3 younger sisters ages 22, 20, and 16 and no brothers) have quit college. None of them attend Mass and haven’t in ages, except maybe the 16 year old. The instant they said they didn’t want to attend church my mother let them stay home. Me, when I wanted to stop going (I felt that I didn’t have any faith and that it was rude to God for me to keep showing up when I really didn’t have faith in Him) was dragged to church and told it didn’t matter what I wanted, I wasn’t allowed to make my mother look bad.

The 22-year-old has a kid after hooking up with a guy that she roomed with while at college for only two months, dropped out of college, brought the boy home and both lived with my parents before leaving and moving in with his parents several hundred miles away. They then had a baby. Got a civil marriage and then divorced. I have yet to meet my nephew but I do pray for him. I doubt I’d be allowed to see him seeing as I and this sister have never gotten along and my sister likes it that way.

The 20-year-old lives at home after dropping out of college after a year and half and does nothing but watch TV.

The 16-year-old is stil in high school but has her own car, does pretty much anything she wants, and probably won’t go to college.

My mother still thinks I’m failure :rolleyes: and loves to point out such when we talk on the phone even though I went to college :smiley: , graduated with honors, and got to do some pretty amazing stuff :smiley: . She likes to tell me I’m stupid for going to college and that I won’t amount to anything and that the only way a woman is successful (if she isn’t a doctor or a lawyer) is to get married and stay home. Not necessarily to raise children but because the man is rich. Lately she’s started in on how I need to join the military because they’ll give me money. A job will give you money. (Now I have nothing against mothers who stay home. They have my admiration :smiley: :bowdown: and my sympathy because kids are a handful. I love kids by the way and would love some of my own. Right now I get to enjoy other people’s kids.)

Thankfully enough, I know that I’m not going to get everything I want and that it takes effort and work on my part to get things done. Prayer too. :thumbsup: The physical distance between us has helped and living somewhere where they don’t know my family but know me has helped also.

Now the whole praying the Rosary every night hasn’t panned out but I now won’t go to bed unless I pray. So it has worked out. Maybe that’s the way Mary wanted it to since I am talking to her Father and her Son. Praying more was something I had planned on working on during Lent (I always try to do things regarding my faith in Lent besides give things up).

Sorry this is long but I figured I give an update. :cool:


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