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mothers. PLEASE, someone tell me they can relate.

 

Preface/disclaimer: I LOVE my mother. We are VERY close. She is not perfect but she did a pretty good job raising me and my brothers and we are all close because of it.

 

But

 

To put it simply, she has way more control over my life than I would like. We have a lot in common but we are also VERY different about certain things. Also, my family is more matriarchal than most because my grandfather died when my mom was only 17yo and there were 5 other siblings younger than her that my grandmother raised by herself. My dad was indifferent to our family most of my life and I have not seen or spoken to him in 10 years. So my mom was pretty much the boss and we all respect her as such.

 

But

 

My mom is also terrified of change. She will stay in a miserable situation as long as it is "familiar". Stability and sameness are more important than happiness. I, on the other hand, have wanderlust and long for new experiences, challenges, adventures. I change jobs every few years just to try something new (granted they have all been in the educational field but I have changed districts and jobs several times).

 

But

 

There have been several things I have missed out on because of my mom. I wanted to go to a college that was out of state but she would not allow it because it was too far and, in fact, I ended up going to a university that was close enough for me to commute from home.

 

I had the opportunity to teach in Puerto Rico when I finished college but she had a fit then too and harrassed me into staying home.

 

She had a fit when dh and I decided to adopt our youngest from Korea (she's not the most open-minded person).

 

She had a fit when we moved to NC for a year and we ended up coming back due in large part to her disapproval.

 

Those are just a few examples. I could go on and on and on......

 

So, my mom is having a FIT about this job opportunity in Malaysia.

 

I know it is because she will miss me and it will be hard for me to be away from her. But instead of saying those things, she tells me all the reasons why this is a ridiculous idea and is trying to badger me out of going. She will try scare tactics ("Did you know there are TERRORISTS in Malaysia!" Give me a break. There are terrorists HERE). She will try guilt ("I just can't believe you would leave your mother to run off to some island!" Yeah, I'm just going to be laying on the beach all day and forget all about her). She is sending me emails with job opportunities here (I already have a job here...that is not the point). She tells me that she will be so worried it will make her sick (she is only 58yo and perfectly healthy).

 

If it is her idea or something she would do it is OK, other than that, it is unacceptable. And it is not like I am doing something SINFUL for goodness sake. It's not like I am telling her I have decided to quit my job and become a stripper! I am going to be a principal at an international Christian school! Why can't she just be proud of me?

 

What I am most angry about is WHY DO I HAVE THIS RIDICULOUS NEED FOR HER APPROVAL?????

 

Seriously, I am a grown woman, 38yo, married, two kids, several college degrees, and yet I am instantly 10 years old when talking to my mom. It drives me crazy but it feels disrespectful to go against her wishes and respect and family loyalty has been drilled in my head my whole life.

 

I will probably still go to Malaysia. I know I need to put on my big girl panties and just tell it like it is. But what I really want is for her to be happy for me. Even though she will miss me, even though the idea of it makes her nervous, be happy for me because it is a good opportunity and it is what I want. Just this once.

 

And most of all I am terrifed I will do the same thing to my kids when they are older. I told my dh "Please don't let me do this to our kids. I want them to take chances, and be happy even if it means they are far from me."

 

OK, rant over. I need chocolate. sigh....

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:grouphug:

 

I was thinking the other night that at 37 I just need to accept that my mother is not happy about or approving of certain aspects of my life. It's ridiculous to let her disapproval continue to hurt me. I should just get all the hurt out of the way at once and Move On.

 

But it's hard.

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Write your mom a letter stating all that you communicated here, then go to Malaysia, and then have genuine mercy on your mom, who loves you and will miss you, and continue to reflect deeply on the kind of mother/mother-in-law/grandmother that you wish to be. :grouphug:

 

Kim

Edited by bkpan
typo
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I think understanding that her behavior stems from fear is a big step. But I think you also need to understand that she needs to find peace in her life from her relationship with God (if she has one) and not from you personally removing the fear by doing what she wants. Learning that lesson will be hard for her. But you need to do what you feel like God wants you to do for your life. :grouphug:

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GO go go go go while you still can! In 10 years, your Mom's fears will look a bit more legitimate. She actually isn't getting any younger. I'm sure she's extremely upset because she knows she will miss out on much of your childrens' childhoods, and that's probably the major source of joy in her life. Just gone. Honestly, I would be so upset in her shoes, but I pray I would keep my mouth shut.

 

I think this thing with Mothers and daughters is a by-product of a societal expectation in America that sons form new lives apart from you, but daughters are someone supposed to be yours "for life" and that they will be there for you when you are old. My guess is that she wouldn't feel free to be quite so vocal with your brother, though she might feel the same way inside.

 

My advice is to just stop giving her the opportunity to give input for a while. Once you get to Malaysia you can start showing her that through email and phone calls, you are still part of her life. Until they, there isn't much you can do. I fight the same thing with wanting my mother's approval. I don't even admire her life choices that much, and God knows I don't want to be *like* her in many ways (though I love her). But somehow, I still want her to approve of me.

Edited by Danestress
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I think understanding that her behavior stems from fear is a big step. But I think you also need to understand that she needs to find peace in her life from her relationship with God (if she has one) and not from you personally removing the fear by doing what she wants. Learning that lesson will be hard for her. But you need to do what you feel like God wants you to do for your life. :grouphug:

 

It is almost embarrassing to admit that my mom is one of those moms who has lived her life through me. I've known it pretty much all along and I have allowed it. I went to homecoming dances and proms with guys I didn't even like because my mom was very poor growing up and never got to go and she got so much pleasure from watching me go. So I put on a happy face, posed for the picture and made her happy. She has the pictures from all my dances and years of cheerelading, etc. set up like a shrine at her house.

 

I am what she is too afraid to be but kind of secretly wants to be. So I think she is both proud and resentful if that makes sense?

 

Part of me wants to say "This is MY life!" But the other part of me loves her and feels badly for her and the things she missed out on so I keep enabling her. Maybe I need therapy.:tongue_smilie:

 

And this is something I am only going to admit once: part of me wants to go to Malaysia so I CAN live my life out from under her microscope. I can't believe I just admitted that. Now I feel guilty and awful.

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:grouphug:. I know what you mean, though I'm sure my mother would make yours look like a saint. I just recently read a book called Toxic Parents by Susan Forward(?). It really helped my understand the dynamics of parent-child and mother-daughter relationships. (Not saying your mom is toxic at all. I don't know you or your mom well enough to make such a bold statement.) It is important to remember you mother loves you, though she may not always show her love in a way that is beneficial and healthy to you. Do what is best for you and you family, which is your dh and dc. You mother will get over it eventually.

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So, basically, you're saying that she found out about your stripper job in Malaysia? ;)

 

 

I honestly don't have any advice for you. At 58, your mom is young enough to travel to visit you in your new home, but it doesn't sound like she'd be comfortable doing that, so it looks like if you move, you won't see her again until you come back.

 

I can see both sides of this. I know how happy you were about this opportunity and I'd hate to think of you missing out on a potentially once-in-a-lifetime thing. On the other hand, I can understand why your mom would be sad and worried about you and your family.

 

BUT... you have to live your own life. Your mom is only 58, and God willing, she will be around for another 30 years or so. Are you willing to wait another 30 years to be able to make a decision on your own?

 

I can't say whether or not you should take the job in Malaysia. (Honestly, I admire your nerve, as I would probably be too nervous to make that big a change in my life!) It sounds very exciting, but maybe you should sit down and research things like crime statistics, any potential dangers to your children, the Malaysian health care system (in case of a sudden illness or grave injury,) and other factors. Your mom may be paranoid and scared, but she may also have some valid points... and if not, you'll have statistical evidence to back up your decision to take the job.

 

Have you eer traveled to Malaysia? (You may have mentioned this in prior threads, but I don't remember.) This is a huge move, and will uproot your entire family, so you may want to be sure you love it there before you make the move.

 

Good luck with this. I wish I knew what advice to give you. :grouphug:

 

Cat

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Part of me wants to say "This is MY life!" But the other part of me loves her and feels badly for her and the things she missed out on so I keep enabling her. Maybe I need therapy.:tongue_smilie:

 

And this is something I am only going to admit once: part of me wants to go to Malaysia so I CAN live my life out from under her microscope. I can't believe I just admitted that. Now I feel guilty and awful.

 

You're not guilty and awful -- you're NORMAL!!!

 

And for what it's worth, it sounds like you are a great daughter, too.

 

Cat

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It is almost embarrassing to admit that my mom is one of those moms who has lived her life through me. I've known it pretty much all along and I have allowed it. I went to homecoming dances and proms with guys I didn't even like because my mom was very poor growing up and never got to go and she got so much pleasure from watching me go. So I put on a happy face, posed for the picture and made her happy. She has the pictures from all my dances and years of cheerelading, etc. set up like a shrine at her house.

 

I am what she is too afraid to be but kind of secretly wants to be. So I think she is both proud and resentful if that makes sense?

 

Part of me wants to say "This is MY life!" But the other part of me loves her and feels badly for her and the things she missed out on so I keep enabling her. Maybe I need therapy.:tongue_smilie:

 

And this is something I am only going to admit once: part of me wants to go to Malaysia so I CAN live my life out from under her microscope. I can't believe I just admitted that. Now I feel guilty and awful.

 

Heather - I feel so badly for your mom when I read this. Because she's still missing out on the life she could be living now at this stage in her life. I will pray that she will find interests and friends that will be healthy for her. We all know that you love your mom very much from reading your posts. And that a move, no matter how many miles away, will not mean that she won't be a vital part of your life. But maybe this is what she needs to find some healthy balance in her own life. And maybe this is what you need to find some healthy balance in yours. Because it's not healthy for you to be in the position of living your life for her.

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Heather, I speak as one who has a GREAT need for my mom's approval, so I get it!! You HAVE to do what you need to do for your family. Your mom will come along eventually. And, she will think it is great when she comes and visits you someday. A few years ago we felt we needed to leave the church I grew up in (where my Dad is an elder). It was awful telling them, and it got kinda ugly. But, four years later we are totally back to normal and everything is fine. But, it took a little while. It is going to hurt for awhile. Like a band-aid ripped off. And it will feel uncomfortable to be together for while. And, she won't thing you are doing the best thing. And....it will be fine. It sounds like you two have a good relationship and she won't want to give that up.

 

I'm so sorry that this is putting a damper on your excitement. It will work itself out in time. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: But, I know how terrible it feels to have that distance between you and it hurts!!!!

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I had to get to the point where I expected NOTHING from my mother. If I had any expectations at all, I was hurt everytime I talked to her. You are a grown woman in charge of your own life. It doesn't look like you are making decisions that are harmful to your life or anyone else's. You have to realize, at some point, that she is NOT going to be happy with your decisions and that is okay. Your mom is responsible for HER life and her decisions, and YOU are responsible for yours. I would not let her controlling nature dictate your decisions for your own life. My mother has not hurt me in years, just because I don't expect her to react the way I would want her to about decisions I make for my life.

 

I wish you the best of luck in your new job and adventure. It sounds awesome to me.

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It sounds very exciting, but maybe you should sit down and research things like crime statistics, any potential dangers to your children, the Malaysian health care system (in case of a sudden illness or grave injury,) and other factors. Your mom may be paranoid and scared, but she may also have some valid points... and if not, you'll have statistical evidence to back up your decision to take the job.

 

 

 

Actually, we have done TONS of research on all these topics which is why her "terrorist" comment drove me crazy. I told her to look up how many people have died in Malaysia due to terrorist attacks and how many people have died here in the U.S. in terrorist attacks. Sheesh.

 

The problem is nothing I say will make her approve of this idea. I know that. And it puts this big black cloud over what should be a shining moment. I was SOOOOO excited about this, then we had this big argument about it and now I feel like some of the wind has left my sails, ya know?

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It's not like I am telling her I have decided to quit my job and become a stripper! I am going to be a principal at an international Christian school! Why can't she just be proud of me?

 

Have you thought about telling her you are going to quit your job and become a stripper just so you can be near her? Let her stew in that for a couple of days, then tell her you changed your mind and decided to become a principal at an international Christian school. Maybe the relief of your not becoming a stripper will overcome her objections to the other job. :D

 

Just kidding! Seriously, I understand where you are coming from. We are all afraid to tell my mother things for fear of disappointing her. I am getting better at it, but even my siblings (including my 50 y.o. brother) have a hard time with it. :grouphug:

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Actually, we have done TONS of research on all these topics which is why her "terrorist" comment drove me crazy. I told her to look up how many people have died in Malaysia due to terrorist attacks and how many people have died here in the U.S. in terrorist attacks. Sheesh.

 

The problem is nothing I say will make her approve of this idea. I know that. And it puts this big black cloud over what should be a shining moment. I was SOOOOO excited about this, then we had this big argument about it and now I feel like some of the wind has left my sails, ya know?

 

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: I know. I'm so sorry this is happening.

 

Short story. My mom always wanted me to go to college because she never went. I joined the Navy right out of school instead, mostly to get away. Anyway, when I finally made the decision to get my degree online (due to constant moving with dh), she totally shot me down. I felt much the same way as you feel now. You know what I did? I did it anyway. When I finally got my degree, it didn't matter one bit that my mother didn't think it was good enough. I did it on my own and earned every bit of that piece of paper.

 

If you truly want to go to Malaysia, do it. You will regret it if you stay because of your mother. You will eventually resent her, which is not healthy. You should be very proud of all you have accomplished. No one can take that away from you.

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Guest Alte Veste Academy
PLEASE, someone tell me they can relate.

 

Yes, this sounds like my mother. My mother tries to manipulate me with guilt. It used to work. She still succeeds in manipulating my sister and father with guilt.

 

There have been several things I have missed out on because of my mom. I wanted to go to a college that was out of state but she would not allow it because it was too far and, in fact, I ended up going to a university that was close enough for me to commute from home.

 

Well, let me tell you my story and then joyously prepare for your move to Malaysia. (I've been a fly on the wall on your threads and I'm very excited for you!) My mother has behaved like your mother my whole life.

 

I wanted so badly to go off to college with my best friend after high school. I just hated the city we were living in, where my father had retired. Out of guilt, I stayed and did my freshman and sophomore years locally and lived at home. I paid my way through on my own, with no financial help for school, although I did get free room and board, which was obviously a help. In my sophomore year, I considered how unfair it was for my mom to expect my life to always be what she wanted it to be instead of what I wanted it to be. I considered what my life was going to look like in 5 years, in 10, etc. if I kept succumbing to the guilt.

 

So, I made plans to go to school 600 miles away with my best friend. My mother literally cried every day for a month before I left. She refused to discuss it in any way. She threatened to take away the car they had handed down to me back in high school. She redecorated my bedroom in as a surprise to me in an effort to get me to stay. I can't tell you how hard it was to watch her be so upset but, thankfully, my anger at the manipulation was always greater than my sympathy. Yes, thankfully. That sounds insensitive but really, how is that the role of a mother?

 

As it turns out, I met DH after four months at school. He is, without a doubt (but with respect to everyone else's prince charming :D) the most wonderful man on the planet earth. I refer to him as my better 3/4. :lol: To think that I wouldn't know him, that I wouldn't have my three wonderful children, this happy marriage, this wonderful life... That's what my mother would have kept me from if I had let her guilt manipulate me into staying home. My mother's guilt would have changed my life forever. Instead, my standing up for myself is what has changed my life forever.

 

We still talk and we visit but I don't. do. guilt. I've got DH on high alert to let me know if I ever start guilt tripping our kids like my mom did with me.

 

it feels disrespectful to go against her wishes and respect and family loyalty has been drilled in my head my whole life.

 

No, what is disrespectful is her treatment of you. She probably isn't even doing it on purpose. It's a habit she's formed, just like you've formed the habit of doing what she wishes. You know what's right for your own family though. Just look at what you said yourself. She was against adopting your DS and you forged ahead! Can you even imagine your life without your DS? I think not! But that's what she would have chosen for you. Yikes, that sounds harsh but I just so feel for you.

 

I will probably still go to Malaysia. I know I need to put on my big girl panties and just tell it like it is. But what I really want is for her to be happy for me.

 

Oh, please don't say probably!! Not if this is something you really want to do! Yes, yes, yes to the big girl panties and no, no, no to the guilt!

 

I can only judge by my mom but I don't think she actually can be happy for you because she too wrapped up in her own feelings. It's not fair to you and it's also not allowing her to live the fullest life possible.

 

To this day, my mom will make comments that let me know she's still harboring ill will about me leaving for school. She was visiting recently and saw a SallieMae envelope on my kitchen island and commented about how I wouldn't have needed student loans if I had stayed at home. Yeah, oh, hey, look Grammy! Grandkids! See these three beautiful people! You wouldn't have them if I hadn't left for school. And, for the record, I'm pretty sure DH is their favorite person! Go figure that irony!

 

And most of all I am terrifed I will do the same thing to my kids when they are older. I told my dh "Please don't let me do this to our kids. I want them to take chances, and be happy even if it means they are far from me."

 

Yes, see above. DH is on high alert. The most important thing you can do is be happy in your marriage, happy in your work, hobbies, etc. so that your entire life isn't swept out from under you when it's time for the little darlings to leave home. Of course, it's a hard thing but it's also a natural thing and I don't want my kids to resent me the same way I resent my mom.

 

Good luck! You can do it!

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Heather, I am so sorry. There is no doubt that your mother loves you and you love her very very much. But I hope that you know that her actions and choices are not your responsibility or your "fault". Move if it is the right thing for you, your husband, and your children. Don't move to spite her, because then I think you would be eaten up with guilt. And don't stay just for her, because if you do, there will always be more and more demands. That's the problem with the kind of dynamic she has established in her relationship with you: when her approval is dependent on your "obedience", can you EVER do enough to satisfy her? Deep down, I suspect she loves you unconditionally. But it sounds like she's grown so accustomed to "getting her way" that that's all she knows. You might have to teach her a new way to love you.

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: I know. I'm so sorry this is happening.

 

Short story. My mom always wanted me to go to college because she never went. I joined the Navy right out of school instead, mostly to get away. Anyway, when I finally made the decision to get my degree online (due to constant moving with dh), she totally shot me down. I felt much the same way as you feel now. You know what I did? I did it anyway. When I finally got my degree, it didn't matter one bit that my mother didn't think it was good enough. I did it on my own and earned every bit of that piece of paper.

 

If you truly want to go to Malaysia, do it. You will regret it if you stay because of your mother. You will eventually resent her, which is not healthy. You should be very proud of all you have accomplished. No one can take that away from you.

 

Congrats on your degree! I am getting my second master's degree online and I love it (I would have done my first this way but they didn't offer online classes back then. I think it is great!).

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Guest Alte Veste Academy
It is almost embarrassing to admit that my mom is one of those moms who has lived her life through me.

 

Mine did too. It feels better to say did than is. The past tense can be yours for the small price of one move to Malaysia. :lol:

 

And this is something I am only going to admit once: part of me wants to go to Malaysia so I CAN live my life out from under her microscope. I can't believe I just admitted that. Now I feel guilty and awful.

 

Reject the guilt! How sad to have to say that you feel guilty saying you want to live your own life at the tender age of 38. :grouphug: This is not your issue. It's her issue.

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The problem is nothing I say will make her approve of this idea. I know that. And it puts this big black cloud over what should be a shining moment. I was SOOOOO excited about this, then we had this big argument about it and now I feel like some of the wind has left my sails, ya know?

 

I know exactly what you mean, and it's so unfair. Maybe you could tell your mom that you're going to try the new job for a year (or a semester, or whatever,) and if it doesn't work out, you'll be back.

 

She is probably secretly proud of you for having the guts to do things she would never have had the nerve to do, but of course, she'll never admit that until she's about 90 years old! So... you need to be proud of yourself!

 

I see the biggest problem being that your mom is 58. She's not 88. She sounds like she's in good shape and can do pretty much anything she wants to do. You've got a lot of years to be under her thumb, and at some point, you're going to want to do something that she doesn't want you to do... like... maybe... move to Malaysia. If you really want to move, just do it. Your mom will survive. And if she can't deal with it, tell her to pack up her stuff and move there, too.

 

Serious Concern: She might actually pack up her stuff and go!

 

Cat

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Guest Alte Veste Academy
Heather - I feel so badly for your mom when I read this. Because she's still missing out on the life she could be living now at this stage in her life. I will pray that she will find interests and friends that will be healthy for her. We all know that you love your mom very much from reading your posts. And that a move, no matter how many miles away, will not mean that she won't be a vital part of your life. But maybe this is what she needs to find some healthy balance in her own life. And maybe this is what you need to find some healthy balance in yours. Because it's not healthy for you to be in the position of living your life for her.

 

:iagree: 100%

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What I am most angry about is WHY DO I HAVE THIS RIDICULOUS NEED FOR HER APPROVAL?????

 

Wow, I can so relate to your whole post. Especially the above line. The only answer I can give is it must be that they are controlling of us and we've submitted to that control.

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So, I made plans to go to school 600 miles away with my best friend. My mother literally cried every day for a month before I left. She refused to discuss it in any way. She threatened to take away the car they had handed down to me back in high school. She redecorated my bedroom in as a surprise to me in an effort to get me to stay. I can't tell you how hard it was to watch her be so upset but, thankfully, my anger at the manipulation was always greater than my sympathy. Yes, thankfully. That sounds insensitive but really, how is that the role of a mother?

 

 

 

:D I certainly don't want to laugh at your expense but that redecorating your room story is SO something my mom would do!

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Wow--what a great opportunity!! I'm sure it will be a time your family will treasure. I'd love to be able to do something like that!

 

As far as the mom thing goes...I'm 10 years old when I talk to my mom too. I can't seem to put her constant scrutiny of me in any sort of rational perspective. So I have no advice for you...logically I know that you know you're not doing anything wrong. Try to hang onto that the best you can. You could try talking to her (I could try talking to my mom, too). But the bottom line is you can't let her control you, and you can't let her rob you of your joy. Not just for your sake, but for the sake of your family and all those wonderful kids in Malaysia that have the privilege of being served by you.

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:D I certainly don't want to laugh at your expense but that redecorating your room story is SO something my mom would do!

 

Oh, laugh away because 17 years later my room looks exactly like it did the day I left. DH and I sleep in there when we visit and I'm reminded every single time that I wouldn't even have known him if the room deco bribe had worked! :lol:

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Oh, laugh away because 17 years later my room looks exactly like it did the day I left. DH and I sleep in there when we visit and I'm reminded every single time that I wouldn't even have known him if the room deco bribe had worked! :lol:

 

Well since I am in confession mode.....

 

When I was 19yo I was dating a guy my mom did NOT approve of. She badgered me to death to break up with him. She finally said she would buy me a new car if I broke up with him (my car had died). I am embarrassed to admit that it worked. Gosh, I need to get my own life.....:tongue_smilie:

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too pressed for time to read the other responses, but Trent's Boundaries book/bible study was life changing for me. AND, it actually made my relationship with my parents much, much better. I placed healthy boundaries, they fought them, eventually respected them, and then our relationship flourished for a decade before dad died this past August.

 

Trying to gain approval of mom will only cause failure and insecurity. Learn that if God and your hubby approve, nothing else matters in a way that should interfere with your choices.

 

Denise

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Heather, I don't think you need therapy - your mom does. I've been in similar shoes. Mom controlled me and I let her because I wanted her approval. I had to swallow my pride and hide my true feelings on so many things. I learned a lot about standing on my own two feet when I had children. I wanted to parent them my way and listened to a ton of criticism (you're going to WHAT? breastfeed that baby? You were formula-fed and you turned out fine. You're spoiling that baby, holding him too much. Oh, my! You're still breastfeeding?! That needs to stop, honey. That child needs a spanking, not a hug. You were spanked and you turned out alright (no, mom, I didn't.)) The pivotal moment came when she tried to bribe me into sending my kids to school because she was convinced that I would ruin them (yeah, like going to school with a bunch of bullies for 8 years didn't mess with me much). I put on my big-girl panties that day and told her that I am an adult and the parent of these children and dh and I get to make the decisions. We were confident that we did plenty of research and prayer to come to our decisions and she did not get to have input on the decision. I was truly offended that she did not have faith in me to make good decisions. If she could not speak respectfully to me about it, then we would simply have to not discuss it. Mom hung up on me and we didn't talk for 2 months, her choice. (we had talked at least 3 - 4 times a week previously.) We have a fantastic relationship now, but it was very painful at the time. Mom needed a major shove to let go and let me be an adult. (She is now my biggest supporter.)

 

Don't feel guilty for wanting to live your life. There is nothing wrong with that. This may be the break that your relationship needs. You need to establish boundaries. Distance can help, but only if you keep those boundaries in place on the phone and via email. Bean dip, my friend. Bean dip!

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mothers. PLEASE, someone tell me they can relate.

 

Preface/disclaimer: I LOVE my mother. We are VERY close. She is not perfect but she did a pretty good job raising me and my brothers and we are all close because of it.

 

But

 

To put it simply, she has way more control over my life than I would like. We have a lot in common but we are also VERY different about certain things. Also, my family is more matriarchal than most because my grandfather died when my mom was only 17yo and there were 5 other siblings younger than her that my grandmother raised by herself. My dad was indifferent to our family most of my life and I have not seen or spoken to him in 10 years. So my mom was pretty much the boss and we all respect her as such.

 

But

 

My mom is also terrified of change. She will stay in a miserable situation as long as it is "familiar". Stability and sameness are more important than happiness. I, on the other hand, have wanderlust and long for new experiences, challenges, adventures. I change jobs every few years just to try something new (granted they have all been in the educational field but I have changed districts and jobs several times).

 

But

 

There have been several things I have missed out on because of my mom. I wanted to go to a college that was out of state but she would not allow it because it was too far and, in fact, I ended up going to a university that was close enough for me to commute from home.

 

I had the opportunity to teach in Puerto Rico when I finished college but she had a fit then too and harrassed me into staying home.

 

She had a fit when dh and I decided to adopt our youngest from Korea (she's not the most open-minded person).

 

She had a fit when we moved to NC for a year and we ended up coming back due in large part to her disapproval.

 

Those are just a few examples. I could go on and on and on......

 

So, my mom is having a FIT about this job opportunity in Malaysia.

 

I know it is because she will miss me and it will be hard for me to be away from her. But instead of saying those things, she tells me all the reasons why this is a ridiculous idea and is trying to badger me out of going. She will try scare tactics ("Did you know there are TERRORISTS in Malaysia!" Give me a break. There are terrorists HERE). She will try guilt ("I just can't believe you would leave your mother to run off to some island!" Yeah, I'm just going to be laying on the beach all day and forget all about her). She is sending me emails with job opportunities here (I already have a job here...that is not the point). She tells me that she will be so worried it will make her sick (she is only 58yo and perfectly healthy).

 

If it is her idea or something she would do it is OK, other than that, it is unacceptable. And it is not like I am doing something SINFUL for goodness sake. It's not like I am telling her I have decided to quit my job and become a stripper! I am going to be a principal at an international Christian school! Why can't she just be proud of me?

 

What I am most angry about is WHY DO I HAVE THIS RIDICULOUS NEED FOR HER APPROVAL?????

 

Seriously, I am a grown woman, 38yo, married, two kids, several college degrees, and yet I am instantly 10 years old when talking to my mom. It drives me crazy but it feels disrespectful to go against her wishes and respect and family loyalty has been drilled in my head my whole life.

 

I will probably still go to Malaysia. I know I need to put on my big girl panties and just tell it like it is. But what I really want is for her to be happy for me. Even though she will miss me, even though the idea of it makes her nervous, be happy for me because it is a good opportunity and it is what I want. Just this once.

 

And most of all I am terrifed I will do the same thing to my kids when they are older. I told my dh "Please don't let me do this to our kids. I want them to take chances, and be happy even if it means they are far from me."

 

OK, rant over. I need chocolate. sigh....

If the decision has already been made by you and DH then just listen, smile, nod, and bite your tongue and do what you've already decided to do.

 

She'll get over it, in time.

 

AND you'll be miles away from her and the distance may actually improve the relationship, non?

 

I was a kid when my folks made the decision to move us to Africa back when there was no sat. phones, computers, cell phones, etc. It was a month for a letter to go one way, if it got there at all! We were gone 4 years. I never did get to see those adult conversations. But now as a parent myself I can't believe they did it! Wait, I do remember there being some concern for medical care and safety. Guess they kept the arguments in private.

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Heather, that is really really bad, lol.

 

When you are actually moving to Malaysia? I think that it's going to be great for you, and your kids are going to have so many interesting things to see and do and learn. Hopefully your mother will start thinking about what a great experience this is going to be for THEM.

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Heather....you have gotten some great responses so I feel like I am just repeating what you have all ready heard but....

 

If you have devoted some time and prayer over this decision and truly, in your heart, feel this is where God is leading you and wants this for your family, you are going to be safer in God's will and where He wants you then if you were to stay here out of God's will.

 

This could be used to force your mother to get her own life. It is difficult for a parent who grew up doing without to not make the mistake of living vicariously through their children. It's okay if it is done in a healthy way. I had no childhood due to the level of abuse I endured. I did relive my childhood through my children but only the fun stuff. I know the limits.

 

Your mom is controlling you and has been for most of your life. We allow them to manipulate and control because we have learned/trained/conditioned to allow ourselves to just give in because we lack the inner strength to fight the battle that is going to ensue when we don't tow the line.

 

If you are unable to verbally approach your mother then maybe it is time to write a nice letter.

 

Make some bullet points...Make sure she knows what a great job she did raising you...How much you appreciate the sacrifices she made for you. Tell her it is your life to live and all though you do not need her approval for taking this leap in life you would like her blessing. If she cannot find that with in herself regardless of what happens you and your husband are doing this. Tell her that you know what she had to miss out on and that you encourage her to make a list of things she has always wanted to do or try and go out and live her own life. There is no joy in living ones life through others. She may not be able to do this...it may be that she is afraid of taking all the risks. She gets the joy with no pain.

 

In a loving way let her know that this may cause some distance in your relationship and that you hope she will one day come around. She may not ever stop doing this if you are not able to put some distance between the two of you.

 

I do understand what your going through. I hope you eventually get some peace of mind and heart about this job.

 

All that being said....What an awesome opportunity!!! I wanna come too...:001_smile:

Edited by GSMP
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Heather, that is really really bad, lol.

 

When you are actually moving to Malaysia? I think that it's going to be great for you, and your kids are going to have so many interesting things to see and do and learn. Hopefully your mother will start thinking about what a great experience this is going to be for THEM.

 

I know, right? That poor guy. :tongue_smilie:

 

We will be moving about the second week of July. Right now I wish it was sooner!

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Heather-

I haven't read all the responses you've gotten but the first thing (or one of the first things) I think you need to do is run to the library and check out one of the Boundaries books by Townsend and Cloud. They've written several for different kinds of relationships- with kids, dating, in marriage, etc.... Also, their book The Mom Factor is very enlightening and will help you work with your mother's tendancies. These are Christian counselors who have written and worked in the therapy world a LONG time. It is evident that your mother loves you and wants to protect you, but you're a married woman with children and it's now your husband's job to protect you. You've done the 'leaving and cleaving'. I hope the move to Malaysia will be a pleasant shift in your relationship and not harmful. The Lord will guide you. Blessings on you! BYW- those kids at the school in Malaysia will benefit by your input into their lives.

 

Edited to add: I'm still learining about boundaries.......... one thing I've learned recently is that boundaries is not simply drawing a line (for expectations, behaviour, attitude etc..) in the sand and warning that it's there. They may still cross the boundary line. A boundary is informing the other party what the line is and telling them the consequences of crossing it. So, you're not the 'bad guy' for enforcing the consequence since they were informed. The ball is in their court to make the CHOICE about whether they want to SUFFER the consequences or not. They choose. Following through (sometimes painful) with the consequences is the hard part for the boundary 'maker'.

Edited by JVA
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My mom is exactly the same way (right down to her difficulty with our adopting our youngest from Korea, too!)... I could have written a lot of your message, just change some place names. I learned something though, during my second pregnancy. Tell her only what I want or absolutely need her to know. If something comes up that she has to exert control over, state the situation as a fact and end the discussion. My mother did not agree with a number of things, including homeschooling, but the more she's found she can't win this and it just makes for difficult conversations, the less she tries. You need to take this job so that your mother can figure out the boundaries. Go girl!

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So, my mom is having a FIT about this job opportunity in Malaysia.

 

She tells me that she will be so worried it will make her sick (she is only 58yo and perfectly healthy).

 

Anxiety. If you don't have it, be thankful you don't. Just tell yourself, anxiety. She'll calm down once your plane lands, I bet.

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I will probably still go to Malaysia. I know I need to put on my big girl panties and just tell it like it is. But what I really want is for her to be happy for me.

So do it. Sounds to me like she will never be happy with what you do, unless you completely live your life the way she wants it.

 

And most of all I am terrifed I will do the same thing to my kids when they are older.

I think it'll only happen if you don't break away from living the way your mom wants you to.

OK, rant over. I need chocolate. sigh....

Have some for me too! I like dark chocolate. :001_smile:

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It is almost embarrassing to admit that my mom is one of those moms who has lived her life through me. I've known it pretty much all along and I have allowed it.

 

I am what she is too afraid to be but kind of secretly wants to be. So I think she is both proud and resentful if that makes sense?

 

Part of me wants to say "This is MY life!" But the other part of me loves her and feels badly for her and the things she missed out on so I keep enabling her. Maybe I need therapy.:tongue_smilie:

 

And this is something I am only going to admit once: part of me wants to go to Malaysia so I CAN live my life out from under her microscope. I can't believe I just admitted that. Now I feel guilty and awful.

 

--------------------------------------

Well, I think what you have shared is perfectly normal. Family relationships can be such complex and impossible to be perfect. I really think if this is what you and hubby WANT to do. (You have peace about it to move overseas...) Then, my dear, take the plunge... and do it! ;)

 

You need to set a "healthy" boundary line for your mother's behavior. You are a grown woman -- when you got married, the cord was severed and you began a new chapter with hubby. Living close to her has not helped the fact she is in control and you are not. Believe it or not, time will heal wounds of separation and she will come around to the fact you are living your life the way you want. If she doesn't get over it, continue to love her -- but do not allow the "toxic" guilt to control you into doing her wishes. She wins -- you lose. Plus, think about what role model you want to show to your kids? Distance for a period of time may help you find your "voice" and strength to be independent. If you allow your mom to control you, you will become resentful and deep down -- bitter over choices you said no to because mom wigged out.

 

Someone else mentioned this book. This book may help you to say NO to your mom and take control of your life:

http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-When-Take-Control-Your/dp/0310585902

Edited by tex-mex
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So why not just cut to the chase? "Mom, I know all these objections to this new opportunity are because you miss me and you are worried about what I'll face over there, far away from you, and perhaps because you'll miss out on sharing this adventure, too. But let's both try to embrace the change and be excited for the adventure and that will give us both courage. Now, no more negative talk--it only makes it harder for us to talk to each other!"

 

... you also have to *ask* for what you want to receive, not just put up with or deflect the incoming stuff you don't want. FWIW, you sound like you ARE all grown up, but all of us crave our parents' approval...

 

Yay! Laurel said it so well. You will not change her mind. You are her baby and always will be, and it is a way of controlling/ keeping you "safe" as she sees it.

 

My mother complained about how unsafe we were living in downtown Los Angeles (60 miles away), and wouldn't come visit us... and then we told her we were moving to North Africa. The tune IMMEDIATELY changed to "Well, can't you help people in Los Angeles? Aren't there a lot of needy people there?"

 

My mother never came to visit us in one of the most amazing places on the planet. We had friends from church, even total strangers who are now friends; my dad came with my mom's brother; my husband's mother and father, uncle AND 80+ year old grandmother all visited... but my mom missed out. Now, we don't live there anymore, and she won't get that chance again. Sounds like this may be the same issue for your mom. Instead of trying to make her happy, BE HAPPY. And enjoy the adventure! You will never get 100% approval for any choice you make.

 

The adventurous sorts you know will plan an international adventure there, just because you are there. She most likely won't. You can't force her, but you can welcome lots of visitors!

 

(By the way, Snickerdoodle's donkey story... I learned it in Arabic language school while there! How funny! And how totally appropriate!)

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And this is something I am only going to admit once: part of me wants to go to Malaysia so I CAN live my life out from under her microscope. I can't believe I just admitted that. Now I feel guilty and awful.

 

Or you could feel brave.

 

 

Have you tried asking her to be proud of you instead of freaking? Look, there is nothing disrespectful about living your own life. We are usually only dealt one each. She got hers, you got yours. Nothing naughty on your behalf about that! God didn't direct you to Malaysia to spite your mother, did he? Far more likely he planned it as a "big girl panties" opportunity for both you and Mum. I don't think you should be looking after your mum to the extent that you avoid anything that might be character building for her! Well I guess you could, but you have better things to do. Like... Pack you bags!

 

:)

Rosie

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Or you could feel brave.

 

 

Have you tried asking her to be proud of you instead of freaking? Look, there is nothing disrespectful about living your own life. We are usually only dealt one each. She got hers, you got yours. Nothing naughty on your behalf about that! God didn't direct you to Malaysia to spite your mother, did he? Far more likely he planned it as a "big girl panties" opportunity for both you and Mum. I don't think you should be looking after your mum to the extent that you avoid anything that might be character building for her! Well I guess you could, but you have better things to do. Like... Pack you bags!

 

:)

Rosie

 

Rosie,

I love your first quote. I did the brave thing at forty. I basically ran away from home, in a sense, moving w/no forwarding address. It was liberating. Until, family members made me spill, and when I did the bottom fell out.

 

For almost two yrs. we lived in peace. I am not suggesting that, but at forty I want to live my own life.

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