Post

Adulthood Damage From Having a Smother Mother

       I stand here at age 30, healthy, sane and without shady life activities. I can cook healthy meals, get dressed, go to school, etc. Other parents wouldn't see me as being frail, unhealthy, at risk or worthy of being wrapped in wool. Feelings of dread are experienced when my cell phone says, "last call from...." and my mother's name pops up. The past will come back... I think, as my heart sinks. My mom may be visiting me. Why is this such a big deal?

      I have lots of kudos for parents who care, because there are parents who don't care for their kids.  When the care is too much smothering,prologned over years, and unreasonable for an adult child, it becomes debilitating. The messaged accrue over time, and somewhere within me, I just may hear her say, "are you sure you can do this?" as I close myself off from all sorts of challenges out of fear. I could have gone to dental school. "Are you sure you can handle the tough course load? I don't think you can".  Things become dangerous, activities become dangerous, exclusions from peers, when life can be enjoyed and challenges embraced. Psychotherapy itself doesn't fight mom's anxiety embedded in my psyche, and I'm feeling increased resentment towards this upbringing which appears pretty in the public, "your mom sacrifices a lot for you. Listen to her". It differs from what really goes on- my mom's loneliness, enmeshed lifestyle, and her desire to keep me a child forever in an unhealthy sense. Where I move to, she has to buy property . Is that GREAT? no- it damages a child FOR LIFE! hear me out public!

Mail from mom is filled with article clippings of crime in the area. I mentioned casually that I will be taking a trip, and instantly she mails me stuff: mosquito repelent, guide books, phrase guides, health recommendations. Things I've already done and thought about using my adult brain, as most healthy adults should. "Bikes are dangerous. don't ride your bike". "I'll pay for...." "You need some eye cream. You're getting fine lines around your eyes". A deep sigh, as if it's a life long illness. It's the high blood pressure when I've been sick as normal healthy adults get once in a while with the stomach bug. It's her squirming posture when she sees me hold a kitchen knife to julienne carrots. It's her hand in public, primping me- my hair, the stain on a shirt, or placing it on my leg that taps sometimes. Her telling me how to talk to contractors and movers when I can come up with my own scripts.  I get angry and brush her off, she reminds me of how I'm tied to her for life, and how dependent she is on me, and the strings pull tighter with the next purchase such as a cup of coffee. "Thanks for the coffee, mom". "Remember not to forsake me". The voice mail messages that go on about how something is unsafe and I should avoid it. I'm smothered, and at times as evil as it may seem, I envision a life free from my mom. I feel peaceful at that thought of her being gone.

If society can learn something from my story, it's that "smothering does no good". It created an adult in the image of my own mother who had a harder time coping with general life's minor scrapes and cuts . I became anxious of things and activities people around here do without my thoughts such as riding a bike, hiking in wild dense terrain, swimming in a lake, tackling textbooks of difficult coursework, holding a job and keeping my home organized. The sensitivity cast me as a recluse, an introvert less likely to trust others , un resilient piece of plastic, fear of close female friends for fear that they will be as needy. Mom's anxiety ridden smother comments rest in my head: "I will help" she says my whole life and my thoughts subconsciously does a bad translation, "I need help because I can't do this, I heard it all my life".

My origins in life as a humble zygote began with a lonely, depressed, naive mother who needed someone apart from a loser husband. "I had you because I needed a life purpose.I wanted your dad to change". Dad didn't change- moral number two: have children for very good logical reasons. Single mother hood when the strings were tightened around me during my development when peers played tumble at playgrounds, slid down waterslides, swam laps. I was hearing mom's messages and held so tight in cotton I couldn't move in life.  I had minimal friends, no social life and just being mom's "toy" to console her- the "mini-me" to dress and primp.

What is the future for the bleak story I just poured out to you? It may be a learning experience for others who grew up similarly and struggle as a result. I've come up with a provisional solution to all this nonsense. Mom will not change, and assertive dialogues would damage her fragile ego to get her ranting again and I'll have to listen to her gunny sack me with past hurts over the last 30 years.  (bad plan) plan two: distance myself from her, spend no more than a week together over holidays. Be very careful with all information I disclose by keeping 95 percent of it to myself, and revealing only what is necessary to sustain a moderate relationship. White lies have been a necessity to get the distance and privacy I need in order to stay sane. Plan 3 is my life long project to be entirely different from her in every way. I will not be a mother and I WILL NOT BE MY MOTHER!

smartiecats smartiecats 26-30 67 Responses Jun 14, 2008

Your Response

Cancel

... these stories are sooo sad. But you're right: don't be your mother. On the other hand, don't feel you have to be your anti-mother either; if you feel obliged to be opposite to her in every way, then she's still dictating what you are. Ideally it's best to be yourself. You can have children if YOU want, even though she did.... but you're certainly going to be a very very different mother to them. Good luck, everyone who's posted here.

Interesting post. I'm 30. It was a host of other events that happened within intimate relationships that got me to move to another state. My mother is visiting me every now and then. I didn't thinkanything of it before, and I thought I needed my family around to visit every now and then but now I realise that I don't. I moved because of a broken heart, but I'm thankful for that because I've been able to get a bit of space to myself. Having my mom visit me every now and then has made me realise that I need to put up boundaries and keep things to myself from now on. Every time she would come near me, I would get angry and would respond by just complaining and spilling out all the crap that was going on in my life. In my head I would say "OK, you want to come in, here, have it all." Sometimes I just wish she would leave me alone. She's probably thinking that I'm using her. But now I think it's my own fault for opening up to her. Sad, but yesterday I thought to myself that I hate her. Not to mention my father. I feel that when I was younger I loved him. But when you're constantly rejected and made to supress open expression, you just get sick of it and want to close off completely. I used to think that I needed my family around because it's what "you're supposed to do". My mom asked me what my plans were and I said I wanted to move overseas after I've completed a course I deferred a few years ago and she suggested that I settle where I am and to remember that "I have a family". I have a childhood filled with sexual abuse, violence and suppression. I can't stand being told what to do. I hate having to be closed for whatever reason, but for now I'll have to bide my time until I finish this course and just move to the other side of the planet. I feel bad because I'm the eldest and maybe I'm expected to buy them a house and look after them in their older years. After reading some of the comments here, I don't know if there is any way I would ever live with my parents even in their old age. Sorry. I wouldn't be hurt if they died tomorrow. The only thing that would hurt me is not being able to afford funeral costs. Whenever my family is around I feel like I have to put my whole life on hold until they're gone. It's annoying. Work is my life now. It's the only thing that belongs to me that I can control and can get a sense of achievement and independence from. The family I chose comes in the form of supportive online communities, teachers and fellow students, and people that live in the same building as me. They're there but I don't have to deal with invasion of privacy or being told what to do.

I am 33 and have a similar problem. I love my mother, and I enjoy having a close relationship with her. But, any time I attempt to establish boundaries with her, she has a disproportionate emotional reaction. If I don't respond to her copious tears and dramatic statements like "You just think I'm a pain! I know you are very very busy, but I am your mother and worrying is my job!", then she will try being passive aggressive or cold to get her point across.

Today she broke down on the phone and sobbed that she feels she must call me everyday because I could be hurt or dead and no one would know, so she has to check on me all the time. I have a younger brother who also lives alone..funny that she doesn't feel the same overpowering need to call, text, and email him every day and make sure he didn't trip down the stairs in the night.

I try to be understanding, because she didn't have the best upbringing. It's difficult as an adult to look back and remember her discouraging me from trying new things when I was a child, laughing and saying "You wouldn't really do that", or "Why do you want to do that? I don't think you would be happy doing that." This has evolved into her telling me now not to hike or walk anywhere by myself, not to travel alone, not to go to the grocery store at night, etc. It's far beyond normal safety concerns.

In my late teens/early twenties, I moved back home while I was dealing with some medical issues (everything is fine now). My mother got the mail every day, and she would hide my bills, which of course went unpaid. This culminated in her being frustrated with me for buying a new shirt on Christmas Eve, and after yelling at me that I couldn't afford to be buying new clothes, she went to her desk and took my mail she had been hiding, threw it at me, and said "You owe all of this. You should know." and walked away. To this day she claims to have no memory of doing this, but insists that if she did she had a good reason because I wouldn't have been able to handle the stress of bills when I was having medical problems. This incident ruined my credit, it took me about 10 years to build it back up.

I find it's easiest to deal with my mother when I live out of state and I can put some physical distance between us. Unfortunately, right now I'm living pretty close by, and can't afford to move. Take care of yourself. Having a smother mother can be crippling.

Are you my long, lost sister?

Haha, maybe! I'm guessing you are in a similar situation, and I'm sorry to hear that. If you ever need to talk, feel free to send me a message. I think social support networks are important in helping us to maintain our dignity and sanity when dealing with smother mothers/parents.

I am 30 and I am fighting the same problem. I have had problems with asserting my independence since I was 15 and I have always been a very ambitious and academic high achiever. I was never in trouble with the law, drugs, men.sex or anything. I was just naturally driven and highly independent by nature which is something my mother is not. She's needy and dependent and I do not understand nor can I tolerate these personality types. I have experienced many career issues thanks to my mother's anxiety programming and in the end I decided to work for myself and my only goal in life is to create value and be an entrepreneur. But because of finances I've spent the last 19 months living with my parents again and it's nearly killed me. In fact, there have been suicidal moments. But I want my own business success more than I care about any silly family relationships that I can see for what they are, wasting precious time on relationships that I can just deal with later on, will get me nowhere fast. I've learnt that the arguments over my mother's invasive and needy behaviour just go around in circles with no positive outcome. Instead I have built up an insanely impenetrable immunity to my mother's personality problems and I react to her with emotionless responses which subdue her and I just won't play. I will be quietly and quickly moving out with no forwarding address @ Christmas. I cannot wait, I count the days and keep my head focused on my exciting business goals. Blood is definitely not always thicker than water.

Omg, this is totally my mother-in-law. She refuses to back off of my husband, his brother, and even their father, constantly sending the message that they are not competent or intelligent enough to take care of themselves, and couldn't possibly know how to take a single step without her there reminding them of how it's done and what to watch out for. It's INCREDIBLY annoying, and she's started doing it to me as well! Reminding me to do things I've already done or already know to do (because hello, I am an adult with a brain), nagging me if she thinks I haven't done something soon enough, questioning the way we do things to make sure we're doing it "right," and treating us all like brain-damaged children. Any time my husband has tried to talk to her about it to get her to just STOP, she gets offended and hurt and makes him feel guilty about it, and then goes right back to doing it again. I feel so guilty because I went from absolutely adoring her to feeling anxiety and anger any time her name shows up on one of our phones, or we see her in person and she starts to ask questions. She cries when we leave to go on vacations, and would probably follow us if we tried to move. I am at my wits end with what to do about this before I completely start despising her!!! I just don't understand how she can rationally believe that other people actually constantly need her input in order to function. How does she not have enough common sense to realize that millions of adult humans function without her on a regular basis, and that I AM A RESPONSIBLE ADULT WHO HAS SURVIVED 28 YEARS SO FAR WITHOUT HER AROUND?!?? Ugh, so frustrated with this!

I have distanced myself from my mother over the years, but in a twenty minute conversation or two hour visit she can still pack in a lot. I have found no easy answer to this situation.

She idolizes my husband and my relationship with him and buys many gifts for us on our anniversaries (as for my birthday, gifts she tells me are re-gifted). I don't share information about my relationship with him. There have been times when things are rocky, too. He and I have attended therapy as a couple and individually. She refuses to see my life as anything other than a fairy tale, while I struggle deeply to embrace realism and recognize both the good and the bad with a level head.

She is loud and clear to all about how much she has done for me, how she would go through fire for me, but behind closed doors it has been a different story. She consented to my stepfather's sexual abuse of me and guilted me for "hurting his feelings" when I made him go away. Basically anything that happened to me under her roof was "good" for me, and anything otherwise was "bad."

I would never allow my mother to live near me, and when she told me she wanted to move up, I considered killing myself. My therapist told me to communicate my feelings to her in any way I could, so I wrote her a letter telling her I never wanted to live near her. She was offended, but her response to me in this and other subjects revealed to me that her motivations toward me are very selfish. Upholding boundaries quickly revealed the self-centered attitudes behind her "love," which makes it even easier to remain separate from her.

I still have a lot of unfinished business with this situation: the grief and longing I have felt lifelong for a truly nurturing mother, the high anxiety I face in my workplace daily (which is like a "family"), my as-yet-unexplained attraction to avoidant personality types, and my deep fear of behaving psychopathically (again) toward others I want to have relationships with.

I found out I have a smother-mother. I'm 55. Left home at 15, came back at 18 to rescue her from an abusive husband/stepfather, afterwards, on my own, never needing $1 buck from her during all this time, even though my single-parent life was difficult for me and my sons, I always got myself out of trouble by working hard, extra jobs, and taking responsibility for me and my two sons, keeping her less informed as possible because I did know she worried a lot. However, I had so much love for my mom, I decided to purchase a home for her to live in and enjoy her life, with me, my dogs, and to leave for my sons. She's 75 and spry. Biggest mistake of my life! She's told the rest of the family she doesn't want me to have anything to do with her funeral because she thinks I'm trying to control her life? That hurt me so badly. She told them that because after purchasing the home, I got laid off, unemployed, found work, but told her "hold off on decorating until I get settled with a job or income."

We've had a LOT of petty arguments trying to adjust to live together - me respecting her as an elderly person, my mother - but mostly she respecting me as an adult who have survived all this time without her.

So she would say, "you hungry?" I would say, "No, I already ate." Not knowing what I ate, she started accusing me of not eating right and being offended because I didn't want to eat (her food). What?? I told her, it's not that, I just ate. "Well, you don't eat right." How do you know that when I'm at work eating a salad? That's the least of the arguments.

She leaves her mail, clothes, trinkets around the house, but when I did, she made nasty comments.

She could shop until her heart's content, but when I bought a pair of underwear, she would balk at, "did you pay the bills first?"

I could not cook on my own stove without her telling me, "grease" on the stove, on the cabinets, on the floor (although I wipe and clean all the time). She'll leave food on the stove, she refuses to eat leftovers, but if I drink a half 16-oz water, she'll never let me live it down (I buy my own water now).

She didn't like my perfume.

She's taking care of my stepfather, her ex-husband, dementia, pees all over the place, but won't let my son, who is an LVN, bathe him, watch him bathe so he won't fall in the tub (he has once), etc.

I was appalled one day as we were driving for quite a distance on a very hot day that she didn't want my stepfather to drink water because he would then need to pee (we sure were because it was hot as hell). I was driving and I told her, it's nothing for me to let him pee if he needed to and I would rather him pee than die from heat stroke. So I ignored her and asked my stepfather, do you want water? If you do, let me know. She got so disgusted with me. After that, I just thought to myself, "You are either an evil person, extremely self-centered, or just really, really stupid." I lost any respect for her I had left. I would never let a person thirst, suffer or die because I'm too lazy to find a restroom to let them relieve themselves.

One of my son's, an LVN, is in a unemployment slump, and he's residing here until he gets on his feet, and she's even denied him food, water. Reminder, I also bought this home for my adult kids to visit or stay until they get on their feet. Now we all mark our food?

Dog hair, dog smell - disgusting? Why is it disgusting? Dogs have hair? They're in the garage by the way, not in the house. The dog hair blows into the house is her complaint.

In having ideas for the house, I told her I wanted a pool and a piano. She snobbed her nose and made her negative comments...irate, by the way.

I gave her the Master bedroom and bathroom because it was just about the size of her senior citizen's apartment and she has a LOT of stuff, but because she's always cold, I'm super hot all the time in the house, so I don't use my bedroom or office, but just work in the garage and enjoy being with my dogs who also live in the garage (American Eskimos - Miniature).

She hates (loathes) MY dogs, but she loves the other family members' dogs (they can come inside my home, but mine can't). She hates that my dogs love me and follow me around like shadows so she tries to take control and stop them. One season when I was not at home, she locked them out of the garage because she thought they should be "active," and the temperature outside was over 100 degrees. I begged her, "Please leave me dogs alone." She would kill them, if I let her.

We haven't decorated, even have curtains on windows - just paper on the windows because we can't decide. I want something that is energy efficient, she doesn't, too expensive, waste of money, blah, blah.

Nagging about me paying bills on time when if my checks are "in the mail," I can only pay them when the money is in. For four years, nothing has ever been shut off, bills have been paid, and all was well - but in her head, she worried, even badmouthing me of not paying bills on time to all the rest of the family.

I got a pest control company because when I tried to get them before, she threw a fit, so I didn't, and then we had bees invading our home for three weeks and I had to sleep with 100s of bees flying inside the house. So, the next time the pest control came, I took them on their offer (I also pest control the house myself). She was so irate, it took her four hours to cease from slamming stuff in the kitchen, talking to herself, and threatening to leave because she thinks "I'm wasting money."

I wanted a security system in the home for her to be safe because there are a lot of home invasions. She went irate about that too.

At first when we argued she always apologized, but not long afterwards, it's got to the point where she tells me to just "shut up, etc." No humbleness whatsoever. No letting me enjoy my first home purchase. Just not going to happen. She's the queen, and I'm her stupid child.

I have a lot of siblings, but none of them have reached out to make sure she's supported in her elderly age (now I see why). I just loved her. I was compassionate because of the violence she experienced as a mother and wife, had 8 children, and still was "caring". Now I know, it's not caring. It's condescending, fear, disrespecting her children, to say the least. My siblings told me just ignore her. Easy to do if you're not living with her.

If I had known my mother was like this before I bought this home to reside with her, I would have never done it. I had a couple of adult sisters who had lived with her and was more upset with her and even verbally abusive towards her and even one was physical with her - and they would vent to me. Not that I didn't believe them, but now I totally see why. She made them that upset where they had to just tell her like it is and use physical force to get her away from them.

I've never called my mother out of her name, put my hands on her in any way, but I have stood my ground verbally as an adult, a single parent, a mother, a friend, a sibling, a freakin' smart educated person, hoping that one day she'll understand that life is hard for everyone, rich or poor, educated or not, and not to degrade anyone, and that I have always handled my business without being a burden to her. Unfortunately, however, she does not see it that way and will never see it that way.

I should have never tried to love her into a home and making sure she's taken care of in her elder years. I'm so sad that one day my mother will burn the house down or because of high blood pressure never wake up and no one will be there to save her because no one wants to be smothered.

I'm either selling the house or keeping it for myself, and another sibling is trying to buy her and my stepdad a house (they don't want them living with them), but I'm outta here. I hope to not hold unforgiveness in my heart, but believe me, I wouldn't be bothered if I never hear from her again. But that's not God's way, right? I think she has a sickness that I understand, and maybe since I understand that, that will count as "forgiveness." As for me, I'm a grown adult and very happy trying to exercise faith and will enjoy my remaining life, no matter how many mistakes I might make AND my mother will never know.

YES! This is the perfect description of my mother! Im fifty years old and the best day of my life was when she died in 2006! Its taken almost seven years to truly get her out of my system! In the first six months after she died I had three nightmares about her, not dreams...nightmares! Each one involved her physically attacking me or someone else! Unless you have grown up with a parentlike this you cannot understand! My mother did everything she could to undermine me and turn people against me...much of it very dirty and underhanded! The most frustrating part is that in public she seemed like the perfect, loving mommy. I wish I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, "your mother is so nice, I wish she was my mother, youre so lucky"! At the age of fifty, Im actually beginning to find my true self....something that should have happened whenI was much younger! I could do nothing right, she nitpicked anything I attempted to do on my own....when I got good grades in college she would make comments like, "I dont understand how you get such good grades considering all you have going against you!" I had a letter I wrote printed in a major magazine back in1996 but never told mom about it because I knew she'd say something negative. The best advice I'd give someone with a parent like this is to avoid your toxic parent to preserve your sanity!

ho ho ho! merry smothermas

I have a similar situation. It is very hard because you don't want to hurt her; you're close, but even when you point out unhealthy behavior gently she keeps doing it. It is so damaging.

move away to a different state, change your job, change your phone number and do not tell her if you were sincere.

if you wont then your a trolling 13 year old with teenage menstrual angst

Thank you so much for posting this article. I can totally relate, except I am 56 years old and still fighting to get free of "mommy". I grew up believing my mom is the only person who would ever understand me or be able to help me because her need to rescue and save is so incredibly powerful. As a result, many have been the nights when I would call her to come "save" me when I was experiencing horrible depression and panic. She and my dad would jump in their car and be there in a jiffy. They would bring toast and chocolate milk and drive me around for a while then take me back to their home. I even called them to come rescue me one day when I was at work and didn't have a vehicle. I have never lived more than a couple of miles from them. Recently she has been putting guilt trips on me about always feeling like she had to be there for me and how she and my dad could never have a life because I needed them to be there. I have been in and out of therapy for many years, not only for this, but the abusive man I was married to for 32 years. When a therapist told me years ago to begin to reach out to others instead of my mom, she became hurt and really mad. Now she always refers badly to therapists. She created this neediness in me and now she resents that she always felt she had to be there for me. I have tried talking to her but she doesn't want to see it. She says she does, but it always turns out the same. My dad died two years ago and since then things have really intensified. I want so badly to be free from her, but struggle with feelings of guilt. My brother was able to break free and have his own life and I hear all the time about how he doesn't have time for her and doesn't want her in his life. I also hear that she doesn't know what she would do without me, all manipulation to keep me close. Your article and the responses I have read help me to see that I am not alone in this and I am not crazy. To those who don't understand this, please don't judge unless you've walked in our shoes.

i understand that you have masochist complex. u r 56 and can easily get a job from craigslist and move out of state and change your numbers. just take all your documents and ID stuff the night before u move for ur new job and don't tell your controllers.

since you didn't do the above, YOU LIKED IT AND CHOSE TO LIVE THAT WAY. blame no one.

Run Run Run. I'm 48 and my mother is the exact same as most posts here and hers was the same. My mom employs the passive aggressive guilt trip control maneuver, "I know you are not the least bit interested, but we want to go to the beach if you can house sit b/c all of our friends are gone." My new response, "If you know I;m not the least bit interested, why would you ask?" Of course, I give in and show up when they tell me they are leaving and suddenly they aren't leaving for two days and the control freak show goes on. A two page typed document of how to feed and care for their dogs down to how to scoop the poop! I can only dream of getting a job a million miles away and the day both my parents are gone so I can finally breathe..sans instructions. They've been gone 3 days and I receive a text (email length of course every am from either parent asking if I did "my chores" as outlined, telling me how to spend my day, where I should go shopping even what kind of olive oil I should buy and from exactly what shop. I have two failed marriages and my mother ingratiates herself with ever friend and relationship I have and shares LIES about myself and or my brother (does the same to his wife) and then swoops in for the rescue. She has destroyed every friendship and relationship I have ever had and my friends eventually recognize her tactics and when they call her out or ask her not to call or email them again she unleashes the barrage of narcissistic spew of "if only I she loved me/us, she only wants a close family and they sucker in at first and then realize how wacked the woman is. My Dad does the same even calling my ex husband and drilling him for info and recently I coaught them going through my address book on my laptop and she had emailed herself a copy. I am at my wits end and about to get a restraining order as I have had counseling out the yin yang and yet every time i empoy the tactics I have learned, it only gets worse. I lived in Washington Dc for a while and she called every single day a) to see if I was alive, b) did I have a good day, c) was I in bed? I just took her 15th text today to tell me what to do and to find out what i did, tells me every f'ing detail of their day as if it is a timeline: got up around 7 had a cup of coffee, your father had half a bagel though it wasnt good, the sun came out we walked on the beach, Linda took a nap, she got up, your father went to the store, we went to lunch at.....blah blah blah... I wish I could disappear and run away. I have recently rented a couple rooms in my home to grad students so I can travel and my mother who has visited overnight a total of 10 times (at my request as I live an hour away and can't see the point) starts whining how "since I have room mates, she'll never be allowed to come NOW" Darn tootin' and NEVER is more like it! I hope they are dead long before I am so I can finally have a life of my own. I don't have children and that seems to be her trump card as my brother "is too busy" and of course can't raise their kids, their dog or do anything else right either. Jealous, insecure ***** and every one of her relatives says the exact same thing. I have never asked for anything and always give her and my dad everything I can (European trips, nice electronics, any and everything they have ever asked for of mentioned they wanted and the ***** is never happy. I quit giving gifts last year because she buys us pieces of crap garbage and demands expensive everything. Dad the same. Then they get mad if we don't want the gifts. I guess if I thought the sentiment were for real, it would be different. I won a trip to France and took them one year and spent well over $10000 of my own money to bring them along and they bitched and moaned about everything the entire time, Now, if I even so much as whisper I might be taking a vacation, I get the "wish I was going on a fancy trip guilt served up with a snarl." I hate these people and what they have done to my life, I can only hope I outlive them as I will never have peace and I have changed my phone numbers and moved in the past and she will track me down like a blood hound waiting for her next abusive psycho episode. I don't sleep, I may lose my job as she even started calling my boss (got his number off my phone!!!) to say I was working too hard and too much. To get the heck away from you! Why is there no book for these people to read..forget it, they can't see themselves for what they are so I suppose it would be pointless.

Goodness knows she even began trolling EVERY social media site I have. Made up 17 different user names on Pinterest and FB and Twitter, but too dumb to know I could look up the email address. The woman is sick and strange. She started emailing the people that followed me and some of them copied me on her crazy BS. I was dumbfounded and changed my name, made up new accounts (some are for business) and suddenly she "just had to call my HS BFF and ask how she had been keeping up with me on FB and did she know my username. Michele didn't know any better and told her so I finally even gave up trying to have friends there.

In HS she would throw "surprise parties" for me and invite the people she "thought I should be friends with" and none were my friends. Every friend I did have she had a reason to hate or once even accused one of stealing my brother's shorts and years later when she found them behind the dryer, said she must have hidden them there! (She moved years before this magical appearance) She would force me to wear my grandmother's elastic waist pants and always by me the "off brand" items and herself the top of the line everything. Such a horrible childhood. She'd pick us up from school (if and when she remembered and before I was shipped off to boarding school) and ask "Why dear, Are you a popular girl?" I would answer I had a lot of friends (pres of class, ski club etc...and she'd come the next day or two and make a scene or force me to wear some hideous outfit and if I didn't she'd go ballistic about how ungrateful I was. It almost became a comedy to actually wear the **** so my friends could laugh. When that didn't work, she kept changing my schools. Smothering is a demented form of abuse.


My mom was finally caught in her lies when I recorded her and recently found some emails she had sent (and printed!!!) to my exes. When I called her out, she lied, sad she didn't remember doing that and finally got mad and started crying and two hours later ADMITTED she did every bit of it. CRAZY, I know why people disappear and I'm next!:) Best of luck to all and thanks for letting me vent! (Dad is no saint either...Narc. enabler for the drama mama queen...likely sorry he stuck around but not any better really just a lot more critical so it gives them both a role to play each of us kids off of) Bummer, c'est la vie. cannot wait to sell all and head to France for good. No forwarding address needed!

did you have a bad day at school? go talk to your mom don't make up stories to rant out here.

Birthcanal30in you are not very nice and should keep your snide comments to yourself. Unless you are willing to give constructive, emapathetic, kind advice you should really be quiet. The folks on this forum already have enough to deal with and it's purpose, I will tell you since you seem to not understand, is to release anxiety within a safe environment of "like" people. The last thing they (we) need is more negative, abusive criticism. Thank you and I hope you understand.

Birthcanal30in you are not very nice and should keep your snide comments to yourself. Unless you are willing to give constructive, emapathetic, kind advice you should really be quiet. The folks on this forum already have enough to deal with and it's purpose, I will tell you since you seem to not understand, is to release anxiety within a safe environment of "like" people. The last thing they (we) need is more negative, abusive criticism. Thank you and I hope you understand.

Thank you for writing this. I have a smother mother and I feel exactly the same as you! I'm only 20 now, but I have significant anxiety and depression. Even the tinies little thing in my life, such as buying a shirt, can cause my anxiety. I'm not able to study and socialize like my peers do in college because there is always my mother's voice in my head asking me can you do it? Sometimes I feel so smothered that I don't know how to live my life like a normal adult. When I was out of home travelling alone, she called frequently and even asked if she can fly here and meet me. I know she is controlling me, so I told her what I think of her paying too much attention to me and tried to keep a distance from her. But she asked me "have i done something wrong that make you hate me?" and said "please don't go away from me, you'r're the only thing i have""I'm not controlling it's just because i love you". When I tried to be assertive, she almost cried her heart out and looked like she is gonna die from a heart attack. So I just stopped and feel so deffeated and confused. I don't know what to do, but I surely don't want to live under the shadow of my controlling mom. What should I do??

go into service industry, any kind of service goes if your really that much in need of freedom. get that service job arrange a cheap place via craigslist or google or that free lodging thing for travelling ppl, change your number and don't tell ur mom. i feel like u will tell her where ur moving and give her spare keys because you liked the control. ur mom acts out but that doesnt mean you should too.

you already know what to do to get ur freedom and if u keep on staying there then you are really saying with ur actions that "mom please keep me on tight leash i love it lock it and throw away the key" that is the message if you dont throw her out of your life.

I am 66 yrs. old and can relate to your story. I tried to escape by marrying my high school sweetheart and we are married 46 yrs. Not day goes by that my mother doesn't try to keep me in her web. She is 93 and widowed. I know exactly how it feels to be trapped, suffocated, manipulated and loved too much. Very unhealthy. You are still young and very aware of the problem, I wasn't until it was too late to unring the bell. Don't let another day go by without getting help and break the cycle. I have two wonderful grown children and grandchildren and absolutely do not follow the pattern of my mother and never will. Good luck to you and run don't walk to the nearest counselor you can find and get help!!!

I am still struggling with my smother mother and I am 50 and she is 87. I still have a hard time cutting those ties.

It\'s really difficult but you can do it with a good support group and a good therapist

um i know you. you're that girl from math class who was talking about trolling some forum last week.

ur 16, not 66. correcting the typo. there was no husband of 46 years and ur mother is making lunch for you at the moment show some appreciation. see how long u last on the street as a runaway. behave and do your homework when u come back to check messages afterschool ok

1 More Response

Thank you for an insightful article. I can relate to everything that you described with my own smother mother, but then I did have children and became a smother mother myself. It is almost impossible to undo the unconscious childhood conditioning that, in my case, was a result of Disorientated Attachment Disorder.
It took me a lifetime and a career in mental health to understand the dynamics in my childhood family, and by that time it was too late to prevent the damage I caused my own children, and which now I see in their children.
Often these parents are on the spectrum of some level of comorbid Narcissistic PD and Borderline PD and suffered ongoing trauma in their childhoods, often related to family genetic history of unrecognized autism.

Thank you, the names of these conditions are helpful.

Your mother sounds incredibly SICK and enmeshed. I highly recommended you find a good 12 step program or therapist in order to get your life back. I'm not kidding or understating the case. You need to get well and start setting some boundaries NOW. While you have a good understanding of your situation, you are still letting your mom rule your life by not setting good boundaries. 12-step, like CODA or Al Anon, can help.

Hope you are doing ok. I'd really like to know how to live a normal life without fear of being my mother. I may have gone the other way. I have a failed marriange and 2 children with breakdowns.
The fear of being like my mother invades all my interactions with others.
We try to do our best and make the best decisions with the tools we have at the time.
My children will recover, but the pain they have gone through is so hard to bear. I am angry with my mother for suffocating me and trying to keep me as a child.
I now enjoy living a single life. I realise I am attracted to people who are unavailable, as my ex was - he was emotionally unavailable from a very damaged childhood - I think that suited me, because he was distant. However, he became controlling like my mother. As I became more aware, the more I noticed his control and the more controlling he became.
It will be best if I do not have another relationship, I fear being like my mother and damaging others due to her effect on me.
There is a future, I have a large family of friends for whom I am very grateful and we have fun. At 51 it is really time to find myself and stop being afraid.
Thanks for your post which has enabled me to get some thoughts sorted out.

most of you are actually 13-17 btw, i can tell from your attitudes.

I am reading articles such as yours to try to understand the smother-mother. I am madly in love with a 54 year old who still lives with his parents and his mother is the worst so far. She had destroyed every relationship he has ever had with any woman. She is poison! I know that he is in love with me, but what mother says goes and since mother is determined to stop me from becoming too important in his life, she causes the absolute worst kind of dramas to make him dump me. I know I cannot win against her and it is hurting me so much. This man has so much good in him and none of it is allowed to breath. She will make sure he lives with her until she dies and then he will be old and alone. I will never understand this type of mental abuse. Thanks for your story.

yep it was a sad story made up by a emo teenager who made an account on a forum and was bored coz her ballet class got cancelled. more than obvious.

Wow smartiecats,
I understand exactly how you feel. The smothering NEVER stops...it is so unhealthy for both the mother and the child. I also feel like the mother wants to live vicariously through the child and try to get the child to accomplish things she did not get to do in her own life. The mother could also PTSD. It is also no matter how much one appreciates their mothers for the sacrifices they do for the children...it is never enough..everything the children do is never enough. There is no such thing called a perfect child
and the mother and the child should learn from each other and have a closer bond. In my case, I have reached out to try to help my mother understand me as I wanting to understand her. However she hardly tries to understand me where i try to give the best of efforts as I can. What more can people like us do? And to those who think that the children who say that their mother is a smotherer and that we are being disrespectful in saying so and ungrateful, try living a day in our lives. And if those haters cannot even picture what we go through, you should not name call for things that you can not even understand.

Thank you.
I have a similar yet different experience with my mother, who I love, but I have become increasingly more angry and resentful of her.
The comments have led to my own self-doubt and ultimately my missed opportunities. But knowing is half the battle. Now I will focus on the future and the possibilities!!
No, I will not die a horrible death or any such nonsense if I TRY something.
Yes, it may be difficult and sometimes gut wrenching to charter new territory in life but I will do it.
So again, THANK YOU! It helped me a lot to read your experience.
~C

the people here who are uncomfortable with, or resentful of their smother mothers are healthier than the type who are happy with the situation. I know a man over 40 who does not actually exist in his own right, so engulfing is his mother. He has "our doctor", "our dentist", "our bank"; he has no friends of his own but trails around after his parents as they go to dinners at their friends houses; he holidays with them - and nobody else - every year; he bought his house from his parents and it is still full of their furniture which he protects because "it's theirs"; the first job he got was at his parents' employer; he spends every 3rd or 4th weekend with them and when not actually in their presence he spends the whole day on the internet with them. He seems perfectly happy with this situation, and seems to think that his mum and dad are the yardstick by which decency is to be measured, all others he finds wanting. It's pitiful to see. I would like to see him stand up and fight against it, but he has no fight in him - he's a sort of shadow of his mother, not really there as a person at all.

i know what you mean ,i had an overly smothering mother too.i felt she was manipulating me
running guilt trips on me,over burden me with house ,(when i was told it ,was team effort.) i was
manipulated into watching children.(baby sitting) had homework,which i never got to finish.
over swamp house work ,never got be around my friends ,away in the house .after a wail
i felt like a social retard,i had no life,and worst of all, i did not finish high school.

To scarlettsky: you are a heartless fool. I bet you go around posting nasty things all the time just to make yourself feel better. People like you are the reason for anxiety disorders, etc. (not to mention suicide) Did you read anything anyone posted, or did you just see one thing you didn't like and open your big mouth? Shame in you for judging others and condemning everyone, well I'm condemning you. I bet you are a pushy, loud mouthed, opinionated smothering person who is angry at the whole world. Do yourself a favor and quit bad mouthing people for talking about abuse in the only method some of them can. Why don't you educate yourself about emotional abuse instead of opening your hole.
You are one of the reasons why the world sucks and people are introverts, to avoid running into a YOU. If you are like, really young and naive of the evil in the world then I take this back. But if you are old and just an angry smothered, why the hell are you on this site? I know people that are just like these people's mothers who just luuuuuvvvv to create drama. Get a life instead of trying to tell other people how to live their own.
Oh, and in case you didn't notice, I don't like you.

...wow. I've been trying to figure out the past day or two if this (emotional "suffocation"/smothering/overwhelming) is something that actually exists... I think it has kind of become emotional claustrophobia for me as well. Since I was really little (best I can recall, gradual onset), I've had a vomitting phobia, and also panic disorder---though I'm not sure whether that came later or not. I've been in therapy for those things, and also for ADD...but I wonder if feeling emotionally suffocated my whole life by my parents somehow evolved into these things. (ADHD may have been more a cause than an outcome..? Dunno.) I felt suffocated but also distanced/dismissed, in the sense that my parents' concern about me was always more about THEM than about me. Almost like I was being told what I'm supposed to feel... I remember when I was little every time I threw up my mom would be all "what did you eat? Did you wash your hands before dinner? If you don't wash your hands you can get stomach bugs..." or "Maybe you just have a 24-hours bug" "Do you want some ginger ale or something?" ....she was basically ALWAYS there asking questions or acting all... smothering lol.
But somehow when it became a full-blown phobia and was affecting my mental health, it was my problem....
Later on I remember having panic attacks and she'd still be interrogating me about "what happened?" or "what are you so worried about??" "Are you okay??" "Do you want anything?" If I said I felt sick "Did you eat anything funny??" ..LOL.

Also, she pretty much acts this way about everything-- to this day!!
(It's no wonder I used to run and hide in restrooms when I had panic attacks in crowded/public places....just the thought of having to discuss it made it worse.. the suffocation feelings all over again!!)

Some people have mentioned being introverted and I think that contributed to it as well. My parents both seemed to pathologize (implicitly or otherwise) any introverted behaviours I had...a lot of it probably did overlap with ADD (if that is at all what I have now!)-- primarily, the relatively low baseline emotional arousal. I think that alone made me feel overwhelmed a lot by my parents' "imposing" emotions (mostly either concern/worry, or some sort of praise/admiration... or they were just arguing and I was left to wonder why...) nowadays I'm always trying to get away from them-- and people in general, really. The praising/admiring is sickening, really, I even can recall stuff they've videotaped where I almost was like the focus of extended family members' attention (I'm not sure whether that happened intentionally or not, just something that seems to be a trend.) Or they're all talking about how funny/cute I was, or something I was doing.... of course I don't really remember any of this which makes it all the more pathetic to recall the video tapes of it (also, there was a point where they were into showing me these viideotapes.. of myself.. when I was like 1 y/o at my uncle's bday or something... WTF. Later on I started asking them about watching things and my mom would usually say no, because my dad is working, or because she was only showing me those because she was cleaning the living room.. or something (entirely irrelevant to me, which totally makes sense. lol.)

So as far as low emotionality, I think that also meant that if I experienced something like anxiety, it was so unfamiliar to me that it probably reminded me of the "suffocation" feeling (typical panic symptom), and yet it probably also never felt like it was "mine"--- like something must be off because the only other time I've felt suffocated... it wasn't internally (+ the connection to all the smothering vomit experiences!)

It's also probably part of what led to my parents sending me to therapists/psychiatrists who put me on antidepressants
(..that I only stopped taking a few months ago, and I'm 22 now...)

But I figure this is somehow interconnected, because if I start to feel too close to someone emotionally, I actually start to get nauseous. And feel suffocated--- basically a claustrophobia response. Although, someone mentioned having always struggled with same-sex interactions? I have as well, but I really feel like I can't even feel connected to men in the first place...to actually "try" to get to the level I do with women most of the time (meaning, beyond completely detached... haha) just feels really awkward and unnatural to me and so I usually don't bother. Whereas with opposite-sex interactions (which includes most of them) I feel like I always have to be either running away from "neediness" and being "demanded" to want things (like my parents and especially my mom were!) or not even involving myself with anyone I'm attracted to initially... which is kind of difficult if you are attracted to the exact opposite of that- apparent lack of interest... So I end up with this (kinda backwards?) "criteria" of "don't approach any girl you'd actually want to sleep with".. LOL.
(Although... clearly, I am.. 'complicated'? Girls usually like complicated.... well, the part that is "depth", at least. I'm always worried about inadvertently having to "friend zone" girls... god my life's backwards haha...)

Similarly, I don't like being treated like someone wants to "fulfill" my "needs" as validation. I feel weird about "approving" people (that might be an introvert thing, though?)

Obviously... it's easier for me to just not bother much with making effort to socialize. So ironically all of this has made me more introverted and more apathetic than I probably already was before I was taken under an emotional chokehold in my childhood...

I'm not sure how to resolve any of this, but there are kind of two opposing facets here (feeling emotionally disconnected but also smothered.. or potentially smothered/aversive to it) simultaneously that I think need to be addressed. Being either nauseated or automatically drained by the thought of interacting with someone because it feels forced.. that seems unhealthy...

Dear GospelofLife
Your holy bulldust does not amuze me
Sincerely
Smothered

Dear smarticats,
Your well written story sounds so sad for both you and your mother but, I wonder if your perspective is as complete or, as emotionally honest as you need to be. How about considering exploring the golden rule and silver rule via "forgiveness therapy", as a good place for you to start working on this aspect of the problem? Forgiveness is not easy for any of us but, it may be a good place to start to help you begin to achieve a plan for inner peace on a day by day and moment by moment basis in the way in which you try to be healed and cope in handling things with regards to your imperfect Mom. God love you!

That's my mother too. I can't understand why some parents refuse to see us as grown-ups. It is painful and wrecks your life until you get away. I'm getting away now. It's the hardest thing I've ever done.

Your mother sounds like my mother. It's just so painful and sad.

I empathise with your plight and your difficulties. Little enough, indeed, is talked about the smother mother who, with all the best intentions and an open and full heart (and much neediness) all too frequently disables her children in various ways. It sounds to me as if you have made a very clear and sensible decision to protect your autonomy early enough to enable you to build confidence and courage to live your own life. Keep going - and have a wonderful life! :-)

Just continuing from previous post, I have NEVER had a proper relationship with another female in my life! I have never had a female friend/girlfriend. I have never been able to get close to a girl ever in my life. For some reason, there is this mental block inside of me which prevents any girl from ever getting close to me.



Some girls who had the patience initially eventually got fed up with me and told me that they don't think I am prepared to let a girl close to me. Now being 25 years old and never having had a girlfriend or a close female friend, a part of me strongly thinks that I will never be able to ever have a good relationship with a girl. Because of this, a part of me has sort of given up. These days, even when I find a girl who I like, most of the times I don't bother with her because I know it's not going to work out. So what is the point of even trying.



Anyway, enough of the rant.