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Pressured by Family


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So I live one hour and 20 minutes away from my family in my own home. 

I see them once a month. I'll go out for the weekend or they'll come out, mostly my mom for a weekend. 

I have to leave my home, my pets, and give up doing anything at my house for the weekend. 

I went home last weekend. 

My mom ran into a friend at the local grocery store. This friends daughter is having a baby. My mom told the woman that we'd love to come to the baby shower and bring the daughter a gift. 

So my mom got an invite and rsvp'd we'd be there. I never said we had to go to the shower. My mom keeps insisting it was my idea. It was not. My mom invited us to it and got an invite. Now my mom doesn't want to go alone. 

Now the shower is this weekend.  Another weekend where I must drive home, but this time I have to work Sunday, so I have to get back to my house quickly the same day. 

I'm frustrated. Another weekend where I can't do anything at my house, even just sit around, clean, cook, enjoy it. Where I'm leaving my pets alone. 

I also am feeling unwell from severe allergies. 

I know my mom wants me to come with her to this shower. But then I must rush back and go to work the next day. It's a lot of driving for me, and I was just home last weekend and will be home again in two weeks for Easter. 

 

What do I do? Just go and get it over with? I can hear the sadness in my mothers voice that I'm considering not coming. I feel so much pressure and guilt. 

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What would be the worst thing that would happen if you said "sorry, I can't make it"? She'll "sound sad"? OK, that is survivable. She'll recover.

Why are you codependent with your mother? How is it you're feeling guilty attending to your own needs?

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It's on you to assert and create healthy adult boundaries with your parents. It's a necessity of adulthood. So yes, you need to learn to say, "no this will not work for me" or "no I will not be available" and stick to it.

I don't know if you realize this or not, but your mother comes across as a very manipulative individual. Since you grew up with that, it explains your feelings of guilt and fear to tell her no. Getting herself invited to the party the way that she did is manipulative. Then telling you that you were the one who wanted to go and got the invitation and must go is actually gaslighting. It's pretty crazy to be honest.

No matter how odd and uncomfortable it feels to you, you've got to start learning how to say no to her regardless of how she responds to it. There comes a point in life where you cannot allow other people to play your emotions and manipulate your life to their liking. I doubt that this is the first time she has been manipulative with you.

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To clarify is this your mother's friend or a family friend whom you're in contact with as well? If you're a friend of hers also let her know that you're not feeling well and sorry you can't make it. Your mother doesn't need to have anything to do with the change in rsvp or not going. 

If it's your mother's friend, just let your mother know you're not feeling well and can't make it and wish her a lot of fun. Put the phone away and don't keep reading or communicating or answer messages pestering you to go. Drop the conversation right there on a good note wishing her fun at the shower. 

 

Edited by Rose Mosse
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Sounds like you're the sole source, or close to it, of your mother's only social outlet. If she can't understand you don't owe her monthly visitations just because you're her daughter, you will have to erect those boundaries, and too bad if she doesn't like it.

Getting together with family should be mutual enjoyment, not a cringing obligation. This pattern that's been set up is too much. You definitely need to lessen how many times you get together during the year. And I don't know if you're dating anyone or not, but if having a partner is a plan for your future, think about how this once a month obligation will affect a romance. I know if when I'd been dating my husband, if his mother was visiting a whole weekend every single month, I'd reconsider continuing on with him, knowing the pattern would likely continue. This is too much of a parent not letting her adult child lead a more independent life. 

I was even smart enough to break up with a guy I'd dated as a teen for 2 years because I could see his mother was just like yours. She used emotional blackmail, and I wasn't willing to see a future with him knowing she'd be overly involved in our lives if we married.

There are plenty of books about establishing relationship boundaries. I'd highly suggest reading one or more of them. Good luck.

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20 hours ago, Alex39 said:

I see them once a month. I'll go out for the weekend or they'll come out, mostly my mom for a weekend. 

Talk to your therapist about continuing this. There's no reason to visit longer than just overnight once in a while.

Also don't be on the phone constantly with your mother discussing your love life, weddings, showers, etc. 

Is she widowed/divorced? Are you and only child? 

Why not take your therapists advice to be more independent. Therapy is to facilitate change, not to just vent/complain and keep doing the same things.

Edited by Wiseman2
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Learn to say no / I don’t feel like it / I have other obligations / I can’t make it etc. etc. and suppress the urge to give any further explanations.

Stop with fixed patterns like every month / every Easter / every ……… If you feel like visiting your family then go, but don’t visit them just because you do this every month.

I am sure your Mom will manage to go to the shower alone, don’t feel guilty about it.

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I'd say a civil neutral "sorry I can't make it" with no dramatic backstory, apologies, defensiveness.  If she retorts with it was your idea simply say "I totally get that you see it that way.  I don't.  Let's agree to disagree and I still can't make it.  Have a lovely weekend Mom".

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  • 2 months later...

Don't go.  Send your regrets to the mother-to-be.  If you want to do something nice, a gift card is practical.  I would postal mail it with signature confirmation.  (You don't want your gift card inside a postal greeting card to be intercepted and stolen en route to the recipient's house.) 

Reduce your visits home.  With gas prices the way they are, you have a very legitimate excuse to save money on gas.  Spend more time at home to relax, take care of your pets, cook clean and catch up what you need to do when you're not working outside the home. 

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Yup, time to grow up and set some boundaries that make sense and work for yo.  You need to heed all of the above advice, all of which is good and sensible.  Your mom isn't going to change so you need to do the changing of your attitude towards being pushed into things you dont want to do.

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Whenever I postal mail gift cards, I place it inside a greeting card, bubble wrap it and ship it in a small box so it won't rattle.  Unfortunately, greeting cards with gift cards are intercepted by thieves whether at the post office, distribution center, en route to the recipient or wherever.  Therefore, packaging everything securely is important along with signature confirmation upon receipt.

Or, the other alternative would be to send e-gift cards to the recipient's email address or text.  It's safer, faster and less hassle.  They can buy what they need and want.  You don't have to shop for any items for the baby shower. 

When I was a new mother, what I really appreciated the most was dinner!  A gift card to a local take out place will be greatly appreciated by sleep deprived new parents! 

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On 6/18/2022 at 10:31 AM, Tinydance said:

Did you go to the baby shower Alex? Don't keep us in suspense lol

Sorry. I did end up going. I'm actually glad I did. I had agood time. Sometimes it's hard. I can be a recluse sometimes and not want to go to things. I pushed myself to go. And I think I did the right thing. 

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