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Hi! I need some advice because my relationship with my mom just seems impossible. Let me tell you the background.

 

I'm 26 years old, and these problems started, obviously, in my teenage years. I have never been like my mother; she always liked girly stuff and I was not like that; she always tried to push it down my throat and, of course, I rejected it. She has always been incredibly controlling (though denies it), and I have a bad temper, which in my teenage years it was naturally worse, so we had a lot of really bad problems back then.

 

Thing is, my mom never really understood that this is partly normal in teenage years. I do know that things were probably worse because while it's fairly hard to make me lose my temper, when it happens it's BAD, I scream, sometimes I hit my leg in frustration... it's bad. Thing is, she still carries (10 years later) a lot of resentment and is stuck with some ideas (she hates my best friend with a passion because she says she changed me and that I was "not like this"). She took this teenage things (like not wanting girly stuff) very personal, and somehow came to the conclusion that I hate her.

 

Therefore, my mom takes EVERYTHING I SAY or do as a personal attack. Not even lying; just this morning I woke up early because I was going to bake, but she was using the oven. She told me I was gonna be late, and I said "well that's why I had woken up earlier, but I still have time" she said "I knew you were gonna blame me". It's even with the smallest things; I've always been a sarcastic person, even with myself (when I make a mistake I always make a joke about it, things like that), but she thinks I say things to hurt her and attack her. I obviously am not sarcastic with her, but the slightest slip, the sligthest critic or the slightest comment I make, it's a declaration of war. A normal answer or joke from me (for example, if she sees me home and asks "you're already here" and I say "no") is already "treating her badly" and she says I only do it with her, when in reality I'm only careful with her to not annoy her. Also disagreeing with her is an attack in her view.

 

Now, I know I am partly to blame because as a teenager I've been disrespectful and hurtful, and because of the times I've lost my temper, and I take my blame for that. But I also don't understand why she's still like this so many years afterwards and even though I've apologized a thousand times. I've told her a million times that I don't say things to attack her, but she won't believe me; she sticks to her own ideas and nothing can make her change her mind. Just because of that we had a fight earlier and I told her I'm so sick of that, and she said that "she can tell" that I don't love her and that I hate her, that I always attack and criticize her, that I treat her badly and that everything she says or does annoys me, which is obviously not true. I'm sick of feeing that I can't do or say anything around her except praising her because she'll think I'm attacking her somehow. What can I do? Do I deserve this?

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Sarcasm can always go sideways if not said in the right company. It's best to leave it out of sensitive situations and not around sensitive individuals or relationships. You keep that sass to yourself until you can let your hair down with your girlfriends or friends in general. Don't do it with your parents. This isn't about rules so much as it is about being smart about things.

 

Are you going to university or working on something? Why are you still living at home with your mum?

 

It's not uncommon for women not to get along with their mothers until later in life. Yes, it was the same for me too. Take things in stride, find your own place and have your own oven and kitchen. Leave the sarcasm out of conversations with your parents.

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I work, I'm just mexican lol. Here it's very common to live with parents until quite late because the wages are low and the rents are high. I did move, though; I lived with my bf for a while (and at first she made it a problem too), but then he moved to Germany for his masters so I came back.

 

I do leave sarcasm out, though. It's just that when it happens to slip, I'm tired of it being a huge deal. It feels as if everything I say or do is part of a countdown, or as if I lost a life in a videogame. It's just so hard being THAT conscious of everything you say. I get along well with my father because he's like me, and everytime I laugh at a joke with him or his family, it's as if she wrote it down in a list to use it when we quarrel. Idk.

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Who else lives in the household? How is your rapport with your father and siblings? Are you working and going to school? Do not try to get into your mothers head, she has issues of her own that were there long before you came along.

 

Do not strive to change, fix or pacify her. Obviously the solution is to move out. In the meantime create more space and boundaries and stop the over-enmeshed stuff. When things get weird or heated take a deep breathe, leave the room or the house and calm down. Strive for peace, not change.

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It sounds awfully difficult Xanzza.

 

"I get along well with my father because he's like me, and everytime I laugh at a joke with him or his family, it's as if she wrote it down in a list to use it when we quarrel"

 

Just to remark that sarcasm and making a joke are two different things.

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That's an interesting approach. I live with my father and sister, and things go fine with them. She always nags my father, but he loves her to death so he just takes everything and says nothing. I get along well with everyone tbh because they don't take things personal. In the past I also had some pretty ugly fights with my dad, but I don't think he's ever taken it personal. We had gotten along fairly well in the lockdown, and I've just tried to let things go and say nothing when she says that kind of things. But there's a point where it's just too much.

 

Idk, the thing is I don't like feeling that it doesn't matter what I do, she'll always think I hate her. Every single time we've quarreled over the years, she always brings up the same. It's like she'll never forgive, and that's quite hard. It's true though that the time I lived away things got better. Not incredibly better lol but I guess it takes time. But it makes me wonder if, even though things get peaceful, she will still think I don't love her.

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I think that as hard as it is, you need to learn to see your mother through adult eyes. A bit less as mom and a bit more as this is who she is - a difficult person with issues of her own. No, you didn't make her that way, she is who she is and you can't change her.

 

All you can do is learn how to handle her and her issues better. Be it learning how to keep your mouth shut or just say "yes mom" more often or whatever.

 

Sometimes, putting in physical distance goes a long way in creating healthy adult boundaries and peaceful happy relationships with fam. Close, but not so much that you are fighting if that makes sense.

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Maybe idk how to explain it. I'd say our humor is sarcastic, or perhaps the sarcasm I use or he uses is not a hurtful one. If he grabs something and drops it, I say "well done" and laugh. That's something I just CANNOT do with my mother. A week ago she was laughing at how my sister doesn't answer questions directly and I laughed and said "you sometimes do that too", and she got mad. I didn't think she'd take it personal as she was laughing at it, but I was wrong. Know what I mean? I do agree that sarcasm and making a joke are different things, but perhaps I should also add that in Mexico humor is a little different.

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I think that as hard as it is, you need to learn to see your mother through adult eyes. A bit less as mom and a bit more as this is who she is - a difficult person with issues of her own. No, you didn't make her that way, she is who she is and you can't change her.

 

All you can do is learn how to handle her and her issues better. Be it learning how to keep your mouth shut or just say "yes mom" more often or whatever.

 

Sometimes, putting in physical distance goes a long way in creating healthy adult boundaries and peaceful happy relationships with fam. Close, but not so much that you are fighting if that makes sense.

 

Yeah, it makes sense. They say "family is like the sun: the further, the better" lol. And distance seems to help because obviously the daily life brings its own problems that make relationships harder. I guess I'm just trying to see if I'm honestly wrong and I'm truly a monster lol I mean I know I've been really nasty to her, and I won't deny it, but I also believe it's a problem that she doesn't let things go and makes me look as if I'm the worst person alive cause I honestly don't think I am. Maybe I'm in denial idk.

 

I do try to handle daily life and most of the time it works, but idk, it's just so... upsetting that she holds to the same problems and I end up being the bad one every single time. It's exhausting.

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Maybe your mom is bi-polar like my mom. She hated the fact I was a tomboy, never liked my personality, wanted me to be a girly girl. She twists my words around and make them negative, accusing me of being a bad daughter, is a bully, and my god some of the heartless comments she says...it's always a struggle. I'm in my 50's and there is no way I can have a normal nice relationship with her. So that being said...good luck because there is nothing you can do or say to make her treat you with any kind of respect, or normalcy. I agree, keep your distance as much as possible...but even then you get accused of being a bad person. She expects ME to call her all the time, etc. A narcissist to boot.

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I think your mom has problems. Why do you and she keep dragging up things that happened when you were a teen? You haven't been a teen in years! Perhaps you can find a friend to share an apt. with, as you need to move out.

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I agree with Melancholy. The best solution would be to move out and share accommodation with another person.

 

What you describe is a toxic situation, regardless of geographical location.

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It's not your job to decode your mum. Just stay respectful, I think, and give her a wide berth. She may be having marriage issues with your father or feeling left out, distanced from everyone else in the family. If your family is conservative or the household work falls on your mum, isn't it understandable if she's irritable picking up after the whole family?

 

It may be anything. You seem annoyed and like being annoyed is really what you'd rather not be feeling so don't spend so much time trying to decode your mum or your relationship with her. Let her be who she is.

 

Don't move out with a boyfriend or a man just to get away from your family. Find your own independence somehow and carve out a life of your own.

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Yeah, it makes sense. They say "family is like the sun: the further, the better" lol. And distance seems to help because obviously the daily life brings its own problems that make relationships harder. I guess I'm just trying to see if I'm honestly wrong and I'm truly a monster lol I mean I know I've been really nasty to her, and I won't deny it, but I also believe it's a problem that she doesn't let things go and makes me look as if I'm the worst person alive cause I honestly don't think I am. Maybe I'm in denial idk.

 

I do try to handle daily life and most of the time it works, but idk, it's just so... upsetting that she holds to the same problems and I end up being the bad one every single time. It's exhausting.

 

That's a lovely way to put it and it's very very true. I might actually borrow that expression....lol... You'll feel less exhausted once you put in some distance.

 

For what it's worth, I don't think you are in any way a bad person (if you really were, you wouldn't be here seeking advice) and I don't think your mom actually thinks you are either. It's just that she has some issues, she might be overly sensitive and takes offense easily, she might have trouble letting go of baggage, buuut she is still your mom and loves you. Just that her way of expressing emotions isn't exactly what you call healthy.

 

If you look at your dad, you'll see the truth of how to deal with your mom. Never ever take anything personally. She will, you don't. That's the dynamic that keeps their marriage alive and going. There is wisdom in that.

 

Also, unlike your dad, you have the luxury of putting in distance. So there is that for you as well. You can move and then...voila....relationships much improved.

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Making her the villain of the family isn't helping you. You don't really know her inner life personally or with your father, their marriage behind closed doors or whatever else.

 

Space and compassion would help you more than polarizing the family against her. She is picking up on that and you know it. Stand back, you don't have to be best friends but respect her station in life.

She always nags my father,

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OP. It isn't a tenable situation IMO.

 

"in reality I'm only careful with her to not annoy her. Also disagreeing with her is an attack in her view."

 

 

That kind of walking on eggshells cannot go on.

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Making her the villain of the family isn't helping you. You don't really know her inner life personally or with your father, their marriage behind closed doors or whatever else.

 

Space and compassion would help you more than polarizing the family against her. She is picking up on that and you know it. Stand back, you don't have to be best friends but respect her station in life.

 

 

I think you're making further interpretations. I'm not making her the villain of the family, I'm saying what's happening. Sugar coating is not gonna help anybody; just as I am not sugar coating my own behaviour I won't do it for hers. I'm also not polarizing anyone against her, why would you think that?

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Exactly, this is my issue. I know I won't live here forever and that when I move out things will improve; if things go right, I'm moving to germany in the following months. But I don't think that walking on eggshells (excellent way to put it btw) is the answer. I don't want just to avoid problems; I want a meaningful relationship with her. I won't force it though, if it can't happen then too bad. But carefully watching everything that comes out of my mouth is just not possible. Just as I was writing this message, she said that maybe hand sanitizer is giving her a rash, and I said "I don't think so, because you also have it in your legs" and she started getting annoyed just because I didn't agree with her. I mean, I know it may seem easy to just have it her way, but that would mean only breathing in a way where she thinks I'm not annoyed by her lol it just can't be done.

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Well, you are moving to Germany in the near future. Not long to go, OP.

 

But I had to smile, in a way, about the hand sanitizer. And the rash.

 

You reacted. Bad idea. What you do is say: "Is that so" and "how unpleasant". You do not go on about whether her legs are getting a rash etc. lol

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If you cannot afford to move out, then what you have to do is maintain peace even if you have to walk on eggshells to do it.

 

I don't have an optimal relationship with my mother and sister. Granted, we don't live together, however, I have to be extremely careful with whatever I say or do in order to keep the peace with both of them. It's a mastered science to be sure.

 

There are all sorts of people in this world whether you live with them or not. In a perfect world, everyone would have the emotional intelligence to be understanding, cooperative, empathetic, patient, humble and kind yet this is not a perfect world. Google "emotional intelligence" because if people lack emotional intelligence, ALL relationships are doomed for failure. I'm not going to make the easy, most convenient excuse by saying the typical "nobody's perfect" mantra because that's a cop, very cheap out excuse. What I'm trying to tell you is this: Often times you have to enforce healthy boundaries with others and at the same time, you have to navigate yourself wisely with difficult, complicated, very complex personalities. Unfortunately, many times, you have to treat some people as if they have subpar intelligence and as if they are truly afflicted with serious mental disorders for which there is no cure.

 

For people whom I do not live with, I limit contact and if there's any contact, it is respectful, polite and extremely brief. No more, no less. Should I cross paths with unavoidable people, I reduce interaction and if there's any interaction, it is courteous, respectful, kind yet frostily-distant. I don't get personal nor close with weird, abnormal people. I'm cordial yet maintain a safe distance. Perhaps you ought to try this strategy and tack with your mother.

 

Since you know what your mother's hot buttons are, be careful. There's no such thing as free rent. You have to pay the price by enduring life with your mother. Once you move out, you can buy your independence and freedom and not be bothered by anyone. Until then, you are the one who has to behave any way you can in order to keep the peace. Control your emotions, remain calm, think before you speak and act, become astute and shrewd. This is what I had to do when I lived with my mother and sister since they have gaslighting, very volatile temperaments which are not to be contend with. :eek: :upset:

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Well, you are moving to Germany in the near future. Not long to go, OP.

 

But I had to smile, in a way, about the hand sanitizer. And the rash.

 

You reacted. Bad idea. What you do is say: "Is that so" and "how unpleasant". You do not go on about whether her legs are getting a rash etc. lol

 

Lol I know. I guess I just have to be a house plant until I leave. Idk, it's just so... weird to me how that would be a problem, you know? I never know what's gonna offend her. Although there is a chance she will then get mad because "I don't care" or "ignore her". I'll give it a try though. Its what seems to work most of the time.

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If you cannot afford to move out, then what you have to do is maintain peace even if you have to walk on eggshells to do it.

 

I don't have an optimal relationship with my mother and sister. Granted, we don't live together, however, I have to be extremely careful with whatever I say or do in order to keep the peace with both of them. It's a mastered science to be sure.

 

There are all sorts of people in this world whether you live with them or not. In a perfect world, everyone would have the emotional intelligence to be understanding, cooperative, empathetic, patient, humble and kind yet this is not a perfect world. Google "emotional intelligence" because if people lack emotional intelligence, ALL relationships are doomed for failure. I'm not going to make the easy, most convenient excuse by saying the typical "nobody's perfect" mantra because that's a cop, very cheap out excuse. What I'm trying to tell you is this: Often times you have to enforce healthy boundaries with others and at the same time, you have to navigate yourself wisely with difficult, complicated, very complex personalities. Unfortunately, many times, you have to treat some people as if they have subpar intelligence and as if they are truly afflicted with serious mental disorders for which there is no cure.

 

For people whom I do not live with, I limit contact and if there's any contact, it is respectful, polite and extremely brief. No more, no less. Should I cross paths with unavoidable people, I reduce interaction and if there's any interaction, it is courteous, respectful, kind yet frostily-distant. I don't get personal nor close with weird, abnormal people. I'm cordial yet maintain a safe distance. Perhaps you ought to try this strategy and tack with your mother.

 

Since you know what your mother's hot buttons are, be careful. There's no such thing as free rent. You have to pay the price by enduring life with your mother. Once you move out, you can buy your independence and freedom and not be bothered by anyone. Until then, you are the one who has to behave any way you can in order to keep the peace. Control your emotions, remain calm, think before you speak and act, become astute and shrewd. This is what I had to do when I lived with my mother and sister since they have gaslighting, very volatile temperaments which are not to be contend with. :eek: :upset:

 

I guess that's what really gets to me. You mention "healthy boundaries", but I don't think it's healthy to swallow all of these interactions. I do it, in the end, but it costs me anxiety, depression and the feeling of being constantly judged, which isn't close to healthy. Don't get me wong, I agree with you: in the end, if you want peace then you must seek peace. Forcing others to be peaceful is just useless, and what truly matters is our own way to deal with things.

 

The problem is that I don't think this fully works... everytime I disagree with her, or feel bad because she talks bad to me, or anything, I keep it to myself. I really do. But then when she gets mad she blurts out a thousand things I've done to her without even realizing lol so it seems there is no way out, you know? like the example above, just trying to find out what was giving her the rash is about her lol do I really go to the extreme and let my only interactions with her be "yes" and "yes"? :icon_sad:

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LOL OP. There is no need to find out or know everything. Trust me.

 

There is a great arsenal of phrases:

 

"Oh dear"! " How awful for you", "how very unpleasant", "would you like me to get you a soothing cream for the rash". You get the picture. The list of innocuous and situation-suitable remarks is endless.

 

Act, don't react. No truer advice.

 

No one can make you feel anything. You are responsible for your feelings.

 

A great old psychological trick is to imagine there is a glass partition between you and her. Through which you cannot hear. Give it a try.

 

Only to add. Humour can be great at deflating those moments. (Notice I said humour, not sarcasm).

 

Laughter IS often the best medicine.

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I guess that's what really gets to me. You mention "healthy boundaries", but I don't think it's healthy to swallow all of these interactions. I do it, in the end, but it costs me anxiety, depression and the feeling of being constantly judged, which isn't close to healthy. Don't get me wong, I agree with you: in the end, if you want peace then you must seek peace. Forcing others to be peaceful is just useless, and what truly matters is our own way to deal with things.

 

The problem is that I don't think this fully works... everytime I disagree with her, or feel bad because she talks bad to me, or anything, I keep it to myself. I really do. But then when she gets mad she blurts out a thousand things I've done to her without even realizing lol so it seems there is no way out, you know? like the example above, just trying to find out what was giving her the rash is about her lol do I really go to the extreme and let my only interactions with her be "yes" and "yes"? :icon_sad:

 

You have to pick your battles. Know whenever you disagree, your mother will give you backlash. This is the price you have to pay for "free rent." Nothing in life is free. There's always a cost or price to pay in another way even at the expense of your dignity, unfortunately.

 

I'm not telling you to kowtow. I'm saying that you need to keep the peace by asking yourself beforehand, is it worth the fight? If it's worth the fight, then go head to head and fight it out. I've been in your shoes many times. You need to ask yourself this: "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

 

You either readjust yourself in order to live in a peaceful household with her or fight and argue all the time. The choice is yours. Either way you're toast but I'd choose peace with difficult people any day compared to fighting with them endlessly.

 

I've had to alter my behavior in order to keep the peace. I've never said I liked it. However, I do whatever it takes to keep the peace even if it's semi-estrangement or estrangement. Whatever works.

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You have to pick your battles. Know whenever you disagree, your mother will give you backlash. This is the price you have to pay for "free rent." Nothing in life is free. There's always a cost or price to pay in another way even at the expense of your dignity, unfortunately.

 

I'm not telling you to kowtow. I'm saying that you need to keep the peace by asking yourself beforehand, is it worth the fight? If it's worth the fight, then go head to head and fight it out. I've been in your shoes many times. You need to ask yourself this: "Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?"

 

You either readjust yourself in order to live in a peaceful household with her or fight and argue all the time. The choice is yours. Either way you're toast but I'd choose peace with difficult people any day compared to fighting with them endlessly.

 

I've had to alter my behavior in order to keep the peace. I've never said I liked it. However, I do whatever it takes to keep the peace even if it's semi-estrangement or estrangement. Whatever works.

 

I get it. It's just that at least for me, not being able to talk is not being happy. As a side comment, I'm not in "free rent". I do give them money; not that it matters, but you've said it twice so I tought I should make it clear lol.

 

I truly get your point, but I'm not sure I'm making myself clear: I'm coming for advice because what I have done is just not enough; what have I done? not saying things, not criticizing, not disagreeing, blah blah blah. And I guess it's because avoiding is not solving. Altering behavior is, IMO, avoiding; if you're sick and ignore your pain, that doesn't make you healthy. But I agree: one has to pick their own battles.

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