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Dealing with manipulative mother, please help


loneliestever

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Hi all. I'll try to be brief.

 

One of my brothers decided to "run away" from home last month, he's an adult and all but he cut ties with our parents which made everybody so ashamed that nobody in the family or friends circle knows about this. My mom then out of nowhere starts saying she's going to phone him every week (even though she doesn't know where he works, lives or anything else) and ask him to come have dinner with us "one day", then last week she told me she wanted to go with me to a place 2 hours away from here to get some stuff I needed, I didn't ask her, she offered.

 

Thursday comes and she says she'll phone my brother's mobile on Friday to invite him for Saturday, I say nothing and she obviously expected me to say "Oh but you said you were going with me to ..." but I say nothing, Friday she makes PLENTY of food, I suggest she should phone first and she gets defensive saying that if she ends up with no guests it's okay. Saturday she still hasn't called and I make plans to go alone when she starts "You don't want me to go with you anymore?" I mention that we won't make it back on time for my brother's visit (who knows nothing, obviously) and she insists we can do both things but as soon as I make her see that we wouldn't return until late at night she starts screaming "I'm not calling him! He's not coming! Forget I ever mentioned his name! We have all the time in the world to do the things you wanted!" and I feel like an absolute idiot because in the end everything was my fault again.

 

I didn't know how to handle the situation, 30 minutes later she was "Well, I'm ready to go with you now, it's going to be so nice seeing that place again" and telling me about what she wanted to get, she sounded so kind and sincere that I felt like a monster when I started playing stupid (just like she always does), I seriously couldn't even stand looking at her because I was so angry so I kept pretending to not understand what she was on about and went as far as saying that she had told me my brother was going to be here at 3pm but obviously had forgotten, that didn't work and she almost cried when I lied again by saying that I had suddenly realised the date was wrong and I was going nowhere.

 

I was doing great without them getting involved in my life, it's the first time I played like I had no idea of what she was talking about and I feel awful, I always say how I feel but I know that always made things worse.

 

Sorry I wrote a lot, I'm just so sad and annoyed. What do I do now?, What do I do if it happens again?

 

Thank you for reading.

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You were smart to duck this. I would continue to play stupid and cheerful. If she schedules a conflict again, call her on it kindly by saying, "Okay, it will be great to see him. Let's schedule our trip to ShoppingTown for another day." If she argues about the timing, just say, "Okay, we'll need to take two cars then, because I won't be back before 3 on Saturday."

 

Point is, put this out front, or you'll only burn up your own stomach lining waiting for reality-day.

 

Meanwhile, I'd look for the best options you can find for a room mate to get your own place. You can't compete with illusions, and there is zero reason to continue to position yourself to try.

 

In your corner.

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i dont want to worry you but may she need a mental health assesment/counselling.

 

if you can not get her to a doctor speak to a doctor yourself and ask advice.

 

hiding this from the family and pretending to phone and meet is not good for either of yous.

 

i have no medical knowledge but would certainly seek advice on her behalf.

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Thank you very much for reading my post.

 

The whole family has issues and we've all been in various types of therapy throughout the years, but for her it's just easier to dump responsibilities on my dad (alcoholic), my brothers or me, the whole family loves blaming me for everything actually.

 

So if the rest are not changing I can only think of ways to avoid them or things to do to stop them from thinking they can keep saying it's all my fault.

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the adults are responsible for themselves.

as they have had care and continue to have care if needed then i agree with catfeeder.

 

find your own happy life.

 

family are not always a good thing. sometimes they need to be left. this is sad but facts must be faced.

 

my daughter left home as we didnt get along.

our relationship improved greatly to the extent she came home!

we respect each others differences and get along enough of the time.

 

sometimes the only person we can rely on is ourselves. make you responsible for you. the adults you leave behind are responsible for themselves.

 

you will have to guage how much or little contact is healthy for you.

may not be much help but it is common for some families to make one member the scapecoat.

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the adults are responsible for themselves.

as they have had care and continue to have care if needed then i agree with catfeeder.

 

find your own happy life.

 

family are not always a good thing. sometimes they need to be left. this is sad but facts must be faced.

 

my daughter left home as we didnt get along.

our relationship improved greatly to the extent she came home!

we respect each others differences and get along enough of the time.

 

sometimes the only person we can rely on is ourselves. make you responsible for you. the adults you leave behind are responsible for themselves.

 

you will have to guage how much or little contact is healthy for you.

may not be much help but it is common for some families to make one member the scapecoat.

 

 

I have heard that some relationships improve after a separation, it's very nice that's what happened with your daughter. I guess a part of me knows that once it's over with my family it will be forever, when I was growing up I barely ever saw them or interacted with them, I relied on teachers and friends' parents when I needed something, it never really worked either so I guess I became very... isolated, I thought I was strong and that I didn't need anybody (even as a child) but deep down I guess I still wanted to be looked after.

 

I wish the relationship with my mother could be what her words always promise or the things she seem to remember so I keep believing it can happen, it's very hard for me to leave it once more and it's impossible to not feel guilty.

 

And she did it again, this weekend it's the "we'll do this/I'll phone your brother instead" part II, I guess it's going to be this way from now on, I have to keep being reminded that even if he's not around he's still more important than me. But this time I didn't lose my temper and I wasn't bothered in the slightest

 

Thanks for your advice trezz, I appreciate it.

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our mothers attended the same parenting classes!!!!!!!!!!

in my experience it has never got better.

if they cant see the need to improve then they cant improve.

 

it is hard, sometimes impossible.

we have to realise the fault is theirs not ours.

guess what?

my mother turned her phone off last night because she invited me and my children to her house. guess she thought better of it.

she phoned this morning we are supposed to go out on saturday now instead of today.

 

if you can accept counselling i would recommend that.

i know you have said the family have had counselling, have you had indiviual couselling for you as an adult.

a good friend has today persuaded me to stop pretending it doesent hurt.

i am going to start counselling.

sad to have to accept not all mothers love all children.

 

i dont want to depress you more.

really deal with it sooner rather then later.(thats meant in a nice way).

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I have heard that some relationships improve after a separation, it's very nice that's what happened with your daughter. I guess a part of me knows that once it's over with my family it will be forever, when I was growing up I barely ever saw them or interacted with them, I relied on teachers and friends' parents when I needed something, it never really worked either so I guess I became very... isolated, I thought I was strong and that I didn't need anybody (even as a child) but deep down I guess I still wanted to be looked after.

 

Adulthood allows us to create our own families out of friends and community, but this requires a willingness to do so as well as limits on our expectations of people. Once I stopped expecting people to conform to fantasy standards (as I was willing to cop to having invented these based on TV and movie ideals), I ended up surprised and grateful for the times when ordinary people would stick their necks out for me in a time of need.

 

It's important to explore the difference between real and perceived need. Everything boils down to self-sufficiency, but there are plenty of degrees of this that don't automatically mean cutting off relationships unless they're perfect. Once I got that, I was able to enjoy people in a whole new way--including my mother, which was miraculous.

 

I wish the relationship with my mother could be what her words always promise or the things she seem to remember so I keep believing it can happen, it's very hard for me to leave it once more and it's impossible to not feel guilty.

 

The difference between parents and small children is that while both are manipulative, parents are much better at it. You don't need to make your relationships into an all-or-nothing deal. You can enjoy just enough distance to bring about mutual respect, even while you adjust this over time to accommodate certain cycles of drama or heat. Point is, as adults, we don't need to rely on parents to be the drivers of the relationship. We get to set limits, such as meeting for lunches or activities on neutral ground where they tend to 'come out sideways' a lot less. We can be creative and implement any measures necessary to prevent them from driving us batty when we wouldn't feel this way if we spotted same behavior from a neighbor or a distant cousin.

 

As for guilt, it's a waste. You know when you're being manipulated, but do you always know when you're on the giving end of that? (Not a trick question--we're still the offspring of these people and tend to revert to submissive or contrived behaviors to either prove or thwart our own expectations. Thing is, we can mix up which it is we're doing--such as setting the folks up to behave as we know they will, even as we've convinced ourselves it will be different this time... not a smart game to catch myself playing, but once I got off that merry-go-round I stopped pressing the same destructive buttons and learned how to relax.)

 

And she did it again, this weekend it's the "we'll do this/I'll phone your brother instead" part II, I guess it's going to be this way from now on, I have to keep being reminded that even if he's not around he's still more important than me. But this time I didn't lose my temper and I wasn't bothered in the slightest

 

It's not that brother is more important, it's the prodigal son dynamic playing out. Unless your Mom is okay in her own head with the way things were left with him, she's likely to keep bumping into a glass ceiling on her ability to free herself to enjoy normal living outside her own private hell until she resolves this. She partly knows it's not likely and tries to fake her way past that, then she has a knee jerk reaction to her discomfort and fakes her way back into believing that she can repair things. That's her own conundrum, and it's self-induced paralysis. It's also not about you. If you attempt to make it about you, that's just sibling rivalry kicking in, and it won't serve you.

 

Question for you: is there any reason you can't live near your parents rather than with them?

 

In your corner.

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trezz, it's hard to believe but it's true, our mothers sound very similar! But I agree, even if my mom has a victim complex she doesn't see any need to improve or change.

I can't believe what your mother did after she invited you to her house... I wonder why it's so hard for them to just say things directly.

Oh and I have been in therapy, during many years because I was suicidal, due to suggestions said to me here I also received help from a person in our religious community, I feel better but sometimes it's still very hard.

 

I have actually asked my mother about why a certain child can end up being so unwanted but she has always says she loves us all the same, I guess it's hard for them to accept too.

 

You didn't depress me, thank you very much for sharing your thoughts with me.

 

 

 

 

Adulthood allows us to create our own families out of friends and community, but this requires a willingness to do so as well as limits on our expectations of people. Once I stopped expecting people to conform to fantasy standards (as I was willing to cop to having invented these based on TV and movie ideals), I ended up surprised and grateful for the times when ordinary people would stick their necks out for me in a time of need.

 

It's important to explore the difference between real and perceived need. Everything boils down to self-sufficiency, but there are plenty of degrees of this that don't automatically mean cutting off relationships unless they're perfect. Once I got that, I was able to enjoy people in a whole new way--including my mother, which was miraculous.

 

Very good point and I absolutely agree. And you know?, the problem probably was that I was "too grateful", I scared people off, if they did something nice I immediately felt the need to give them things like food, or even toys, I wasn't physical but I was very "eager".

 

 

The difference between parents and small children is that while both are manipulative, parents are much better at it. You don't need to make your relationships into an all-or-nothing deal. You can enjoy just enough distance to bring about mutual respect, even while you adjust this over time to accommodate certain cycles of drama or heat. Point is, as adults, we don't need to rely on parents to be the drivers of the relationship. We get to set limits, such as meeting for lunches or activities on neutral ground where they tend to 'come out sideways' a lot less. We can be creative and implement any measures necessary to prevent them from driving us batty when we wouldn't feel this way if we spotted same behavior from a neighbor or a distant cousin.
I'll be thinking about this.

 

 

As for guilt, it's a waste. You know when you're being manipulated, but do you always know when you're on the giving end of that? (Not a trick question--we're still the offspring of these people and tend to revert to submissive or contrived behaviors to either prove or thwart our own expectations. Thing is, we can mix up which it is we're doing--such as setting the folks up to behave as we know they will, even as we've convinced ourselves it will be different this time... not a smart game to catch myself playing, but once I got off that merry-go-round I stopped pressing the same destructive buttons and learned how to relax.)
This is 100% true and I'm aware I do it. I was made the evil one so I ALWAYS carry on conversations that I know will end up in somebody crying and saying it was all my fault, guilt piles up and it's hard to imagine a day without feeling fully responsible of ruining their lives.

I had been sucessful at avoiding taking the blame lately but the new situation caught me off guard.

 

 

It's not that brother is more important, it's the prodigal son dynamic playing out. Unless your Mom is okay in her own head with the way things were left with him, she's likely to keep bumping into a glass ceiling on her ability to free herself to enjoy normal living outside her own private hell until she resolves this. She partly knows it's not likely and tries to fake her way past that, then she has a knee jerk reaction to her discomfort and fakes her way back into believing that she can repair things. That's her own conundrum, and it's self-induced paralysis. It's also not about you. If you attempt to make it about you, that's just sibling rivalry kicking in, and it won't serve you.
Well I wouldn't mind it if it was because he is gone but it has actually been the same forever. Just a week before he left I was making my breakfast, he was still asleep but the second he got up my mother told me to get out of the kitchen because she had to prepare my brother's breakfast, I said "give me five minutes" but she started pushing me around and accidentally hitting with a pan my glass of juice, I ended up leaving and finishing my breakfast 1 hour later after they all had finished. Those things happen every day all the time, even guests and complete strangers come before me, that's why I avoid being around as much as possible.

 

 

Question for you: is there any reason you can't live near your parents rather than with them?

The reason we all live here is because that's the custom in our country and in our religion (mostly a social thing though), so even if my family would probably be very happy if I left my options would be dramatically reduced as a female living alone.

 

 

Anyway, thanks to both for the great advice.

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[...] (Regarding prodigal son thing...)

Well I wouldn't mind it if it was because he is gone but it has actually been the same forever. Just a week before he left I was making my breakfast, he was still asleep but the second he got up my mother told me to get out of the kitchen because she had to prepare my brother's breakfast, I said "give me five minutes" but she started pushing me around and accidentally hitting with a pan my glass of juice, I ended up leaving and finishing my breakfast 1 hour later after they all had finished. Those things happen every day all the time, even guests and complete strangers come before me, that's why I avoid being around as much as possible.

 

The reason we all live here is because that's the custom in our country and in our religion (mostly a social thing though), so even if my family would probably be very happy if I left my options would be dramatically reduced as a female living alone.

[...]

 

Just caught something really interesting and hopefully helpful. Look at the relationship between your two quotes above.

 

The prodigal son thing isn't just about brother's current status, it's been woven right into his freedom as a man in your culture to ditch the family home--while your social dependency on the family house is also written right into this scenario. It renders you as taken for granted while brother has always held the potential to flee someday. --That's not fair, but it's also not personal.--

 

While that's not fun to work with, you're doing a fantastic job of analyzing all these posts, and you're culling for benefit rather than holding up a victim banner. I admire you for that.

 

Given your willingness to see your own part in stirring drama (another thing that impresses me about you since you're still so enmeshed in your household) I think you'll be able to form some new strategies for making your life with family more pleasant.

 

In other words, the same creativity you've used in the past to cause yourself heartache, you can now apply to creating enough distance and respect between yourself and your perfectly human and fallible parents. This is your protection and your private power. Maybe you can work out some ideas about this here, but I also hope that appreciating your Mom's insecurity about your brother in a way that isn't a reflection on you might help heal some of the hurt.

 

((Big hug to you.))

Cat

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Just caught something really interesting and hopefully helpful. Look at the relationship between your two quotes above.

 

The prodigal son thing isn't just about brother's current status, it's been woven right into his freedom as a man in your culture to ditch the family home--while your social dependency on the family house is also written right into this scenario. It renders you as taken for granted while brother has always held the potential to flee someday. --That's not fair, but it's also not personal.--

 

My family has always taken pride in being "modern" which is true in many ways so when I read this I was like "it can't be" but after thinking about it I can actually see it makes a lot of sense. Both of my parents (and also my grandparents) had or have that expectation, and I may be reading too much into it but perhaps that's what causes drama, they want me to stay and leave at the same time.

 

 

While that's not fun to work with, you're doing a fantastic job of analyzing all these posts, and you're culling for benefit rather than holding up a victim banner. I admire you for that.

 

Given your willingness to see your own part in stirring drama (another thing that impresses me about you since you're still so enmeshed in your household) I think you'll be able to form some new strategies for making your life with family more pleasant.

 

In other words, the same creativity you've used in the past to cause yourself heartache, you can now apply to creating enough distance and respect between yourself and your perfectly human and fallible parents. This is your protection and your private power. Maybe you can work out some ideas about this here, but I also hope that appreciating your Mom's insecurity about your brother in a way that isn't a reflection on you might help heal some of the hurt.

 

((Big hug to you.))

 

This was very beautiful, respect has to be the next step. I know my brothers mean the world to my mom and stepping into her shoes for a minute (don't know how that happened changes the whole picture.

 

 

Thank you very much for your kindness and your advice, I'm feeling very positive about this situation now.

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What To Do If They Cheat - Do this ...
What To Do If They Cheat - Do this First

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