Ask an expert

02 Aug 2010

I am 33 and have recently been separated from my husband. Since the separation my relationship with my mother has taken a turn for the worst. She wants to interfere all the time, she wants to know where I am and what I''m doing. She puts me on constant guilt trips and wants to tell me what to do and how to do it. Both my boys are coping fine with the separation and me and my husband are giving them loads of love and support and they have not been behaving significantly different than usual and both are still doing very good at school and are well adjusted. My mother however keep telling me that I should take them to a psychologist because she is certain that they are having problems. To give some background: I come from a home where my father was either absent from home for days at a time or physically abusing my mother. My mother depended on us all the time. We were very good children. We never acted out. We never smoked or drank when we were teens. I still believe till today that we never acted out because she depended on us and not the other way around. We didn''t want to disappoint her and on the rare occassions that we did she would put us on enormous guilt trips. I can''t stand it any longer. I know she loves me and I love her too but she is now doing the exact same thing she did when we were kids. And if I don''t want to talk to her she just throws a temper tantrum or start banging doors etc. Please help me!! It''s driving me insane!
Answer 366 views

01 Jan 0001

Did her tendency to get over-involved just sart after your separation ? Or was that just when it became more irritating ? Sounds like one of those situations where the person really means well, but is not merely not being anywhere near as helpful as she supposes, but may actually be making things worse.
For instance, people really do over-estimate how kids are badly affected by separations or divorce - if the parents are sensible about it, kids usually handle it rather well, as yours seem to be doing.
Fortunately, nobody can put you on a guilt trip, unless you accept the ticket and board the vehicle. She is playing into your vulnerability and worries. Your view of your childhood sounds convincing - and now she needs you again, and in the guise of caring for you, she is enabling herself to feel wise and important.
Some people thrive on the guilt of others, rather like a vampire thriving on others' blood.
If she throws tantrums whenever you try to raise your very valid concerns, then you may need to deal with this by ignoring her remarks, saying "uh-huh" and otherwise simulating, listening, but otherwise not taking them to heart or even paying distinct attention while making non-committal noises.
Also, you can perhaps divert her zeal to be helpful, by finding something harmless, which can be represented as significant, which you can give her to do, so whe uses some of that earnest energy without using it in more directly interfering activities.
A personal counsellor could help you plan other strategies, in more detail.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9270 votes
66% - 17920 votes