I Am An Evil, Ungrateful Child

My mum was controlling my life for 23 years by grounding me, guilt trips, emotional blackmail, sighs, looks, etc. She hated all my friends (she has bad influence on you). I was not allowed to choose what clothes to buy (you look like a *****/goth/punk). I was not allowed out (who are you going out with – a group of friends – no, because you will look like a gang, on my own – no, it’s too dangerous, with my best mate – no, you will look as if you were on the pull). She was carefully moulding me into a mini version of herself - whining, complaining about the state of the world and society, having a huge entitlement issues and not doing anything about it because what is the point. The older I was, the less freedom I got. I finally gave up when I was in the college, did really well academically (I couldn’t go out, had no internet and there’s only so many books you can read or programmes you can watch). It was fine because I was the model child who made her proud.

 Finally, I managed to persuade her to let me go on holiday 1000 miles away from "home". I left with one suitcase and I never came back (well, I went to visit 4 times but I am not going to do that ever again). I was 9 months away from getting a postgraduate degree but I left it all. At first, I struggled financially, then it got better. I live in a small town where everybody knows everybody else (or knows someone who does). I live close to the sea. I have a cat and two guinea pigs. I also have my lovely, lovely boyfriend - W.

The latest outbreak of hostility between my mum and me happened because of my boyfriend. Of course, she knows best, she just can tell these things about people she never met and never spoke to (I made the mistake of confiding in her after one of arguments I had with W). Anyway, according to my smother mother (I love this expression!), W is no good for me. We broke up a year ago and she was over the moon. So I decided not to shatter it by saying that a month later we got back together, worked out our differences and we have been together ever since. It's nearing two years now making it my longest relationship. Quite pathetic really considering my age but I think this is a relationship for life.

I realised I was hurting W by keeping him secret so I told my parents we are back together and going strong. She is not speaking to me but she wrote an 8-page letter about everything I ever did wrong and how she is always right (her usual tactic - I cannot stand your voice but I will write to you because I am such a good mother). I read it, woke W up and asked him to tell me if my life really looks like that. You would have thought I became a low life who spends time getting drunk and/or high, living in squalor with other like-minded people. She gave me an ultimatum - either I come back "home" or that's it.

At first the letter depressed me but later it made me take stock of what I have achieved over the past five years. I am proud of it, it turns out.

Also, I would actually want her out of my life. If she never speaks to me again, I will be free to make my own mistakes, not fear what is around the corner, learn from them and grow as a person. This is normal. Others go through it when they are teenagers.

I don't think there is a way of keeping everybody happy in this situation. If I don't tell her stuff that is bound to make her angry/worried/whatever, I will be lying (how could you, after all I have done for you). If I do tell her, she will undermine my self-esteem to such an extent that I will finally do her bidding (please Cassie, just think about it and make the right choice. You deserve so much more). I never thought I am that sort of person who could never speak to her mother ever again. If you look at it from the outside, she is perfect: interested in me, caring, wanting me to go far in life. I am growing used to the idea though. I am currently unable to leave the house; I am suffering from panic attacks, IBS and depression. I have just lost my job because of that. To her it is the final proof that I just cannot cope on my own. To me it is the confirmation that she needs out of my life. Over the past two weeks, I read a lot of stories about adult children being the apple of their mothers' eyes and most of them are failures at their own lives too.

I thought to myself that if W were trying to control me in this way, I would tell him to go to hell. My mother is not special enough to let her destroy me.

I really recommend "Everybody's fine" with Robert de Niro. It sums up the whole issue of overprotective parents nicely and shows other people what it is like to have parents who want to be proud of you no matter what you want. W was raging at the main character's children for 3/4 of the movie and then cried with me for the rest of it.

Let them go, I say.

CassieG CassieG
11 Responses Feb 28, 2010

Thank you for the movie suggestion. I'll rent it.

I do not think anyone has perfect parents or perfect children. My only daughter that I had at 16 chose to go live with her dad's parents at 14 because they bribed her with the things I couldn't afford to buy. Not necessities, but a nicer horse, horse trailer, truck, and oh, traveling every weekend to do the High School Rodeo Circuit. She already had those things at my house. His parents and my parents too undermined me at every turn in raising my daughter. I had my daughter. I stayed in school. I got a good job right out of high school with the Government. I did not drink, smoke or party. And all I ever heard was how I ruined their son's life from her dad's parents. So I am the bad guy with stretch marks and dreams unfulfilled. Nobody throws you a parade for being pro-life and doing the right thing. I am 45 now and working on finishing college, that was obviously delayed to raise an ungrateful child. And I can relate to CassieG. She did the right thing by getting out of high school and going to college and leaving. Nobody can accept it when I said I got pregnant on purpose at 15 to escape my abusive mother. I wish now I could have held off a little longer and did it different. So mom passed away 3 years ago, and I finally have peace from that. My friend made a comment last year that I am now finally started carrying purses that are fashionable and not old ladies purses. I said, because mom said those purses made me look like a "*****". Geez. Does it ever end and do you ever get away from it on either end? Not to mention I will never share whom or if I am dating someone because that is just a long hall of hell with trying to sabotage the relationship from my parents picking the guy apart. Well with mom passing and dad still living, I got to see that it wasn't all her. Since she is gone, dad has no one to blame for the evil stuff he does. Recently he said he was upset because she died owing $20,000 in bills he didn't know about and had to pay. I say to myself, "nicely played mom" for paying him back for screwing around on you 20 years ago. LOL So dad is dying of cancer now. My daughter who is 28 now, is being a lying little backstabber to try to get my part of the inheritance. So I can't wait until it is over to get away from all of them. So CassieG, my advice to you is that if you don't have to put up with your mom, and it won't cost you a big inheritance, just go live your life and be happy. We are all responsible for ourselves and our actions. We can let people who are supposed to love us, abuse us, or we can love ourselves enough just to go our and find our own happiness. Forgive others, but forgive yourself most importantly and go on with your life. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "Nobody can make you feel "inferior" without your permission". And you can substitute the word "inferior" with whatever you are feeling from her. You say your are an evil good for nothing child? No. That would make me a "Good for nothing child". And that I am not.

i know the pain all to well...but try 2 parents doing this.........i've just paased college....and now told im no good....honestly i wished on a shooting star tonight...and wished for my headstone i hope it comes true at least if i'm gone they will be happier

WOW...I am a Mom of a 24 year old son who is about to graduate med school & be a DR of Physical Therapy....I am divorced now & he is the most ungrateful young man you wana know..I pay his bills, support him, and he wants wants wants....& does NOTHING for me but hurt me by not texing back, or hardly calling me....his friends mean more to him than me.<br />
He is doing his last intersnhip in Fl I am in NJ, and all I wanted for valentines day was a card....I got a stupidecard 8pm at night..I turned 50, NOT even a card....I love him, but I want to be appreciated and he doesnt...where did I go wrong?

To JerzeyGal. I would like to ask you, have you done everything for your son without ever asking or expecting anything in return from him? That may be why he is unappreciative now. I think if you are the type of parent who raised him to feel entitled because he is smart (its a great thing to have a smart child, however, making them think they are better than everyone else and enabling them all the time because they are smart is not healthy either) You should not pay all his bills and support him. Maybe that is why he is stepping all over you and not bothering to acknowledge you. You have done too much for him. He sounds very spoiled by you. Let him have some hardships and try and get a part time job so he can pay his own bills for once. He needs to learn sooner or later.

He's 24. Boys don't think of cards and phonecalls. At least you got an e-card. And, he's busy with internship. You should be proud!! Give him time to mature, and all those life lessons you taught him will begin to show. Hang in there, and don't nag him….I'll bet he comes through for ya. Just not this year, yet.

Mothers get all the blame and none of the credit. No wonder older women lose their minds, their children see only the negatives in their childhoods and put 100% of the blame at the feet of their Mothers. Go out and have children and raise them and then see if your children don't do the same to you, no matter how wonderful a job you did. For some reason, we are programmed to cut ties with the nest and it seems in order to accomplish that feat, we hate and blame our Mothers. Is it the way of nature? I also once hated and blamed my Mother who is long dead, but now I am old and see my own lovely daughters going through this process of being too busy to remember their foundation and everything that was done for them....ignoring emails (feels like being hung up on)...never emailing me - I am only a source of money or furniture now. It hurts - especially when you have dedicated 3 decades of life and sacrificed your own needs and wants to help them turn out well, forsaken your university education to be a stay at home Mom, (then find out in today's world, no one wants you and your skills and knowledge other than for cheap labour). A modicum of gratitude, a short email to update occasionally, a tiny bit of kindness....not so much to ask for 20 - 30 years of someone's life. Superficial posts on Facebook seem more important than real relationships nowadays. I consider myself a good Mom, not controlling, not overbearing... my kids were allowed to travel and go away to university. My mother was mean, and quite abusive to me (and alcoholic) and I treated her with more kindness, and more frequent visits, so I can only conclude that today's generation is far too spoiled and far too involved with technology. So if you are 20 - 36, cut your Mom some slack and be kind to her....she will be dead before you know it anyhow. You owe her that - for everything that woman has done for you, and until you have raised children to adulthood, you will not know the depths of that love, the sleepless nights and worry for your well being, and the time, her time - that she gave you. And you might be surprised that your love given to her will be returned with eve nmore love in return. "Charity never faileth."

My mum says that too: once you have your own children, you will understand. I have enough imagination to see that it is probably not for me. The returns are just not good enough for all the effort, worry and money required. To put up with them being completely dependant on you for two years and then trying to get away from you for the rest of your lives. It must be utterly infuriating to see your kids destroy their health, neglect their education and make such obvious mistakes in every area of their lives.

Having children is a choice. Plenty of women have their kids when young and continue their education. Plenty more have careers. I do not "owe" my mum anything. If my husband was that controlling and abusive, I am sure you would tell me to get the hell away no matter what happened during our relationship. This situation is no different. Just because she chose to sacrifice her life and used me as a an excuse does not mean that I owe her anything if she continues treating me the way she is. I am independent and will stand up for myself. She chooses to criticise or pick holes in everything I do. I am kind to her but I am done taking the **** all the time and will pull her up on it. I do speak to my Dad for several hours a week. She chooses not to join in. I am here but I want to redefine our relationship - to base it on respect and mutual interest.

Im with you here Cassie. I dont have children but in my many years of life I have been in situations where I have helped others and taken them into my home for 3 plus months to help them get back on their feet. I did not want them to be grateful to me. I did not want them to repay me. In many cases, they did not stay in touch. I dont feel hurt or insulted. I did it because I wanted to and I cared. For those who said 'how can I repay you'? My response was always the same. ''Just pay it forward. There might be a day when another person is in trouble and needs a friend. You can be that friend to them and that can be your repayment.''. If you make the unilateral decision to produce and raise a human being, ask yourself why? If its to fend off loneliness or to make you look good. Thats going to be a rough ride on you and them

@ flowermom, I think that trying to control every aspect of a child's life is a complete and utter form of disrespectful, demeaning behavior. I had a similar mother to this author and I do understand what love for your children is because I have 2 of my own. I get that parents want the best for their child but who is to say what is best for someone else? Does it matter what the child wants? Especially when the child is an adult and their minds are fully developed? Smothering is abusive and self serving whether it is done to a child, a romantic partner, a friend, etc. It is just as damaging as neglect. Now that I've stopped speaking to my mother, my relationships with other people have improved and most importantly, my relationship with myself has improved. I do feel bad about it, but I've come too far to go back into my addictive patterns of worrying about what my mother will say, allowing her to sabotage my life. It's not fair and its not healthy. Why doesn't the author deserve an identity of her own?

Thanks for that. I feel much better about it now. My mum is taking her issues on my dad. They have been married for forty years and now she is threatening him with divorce if he continues speaking to me.

When you have been a parent for a long time and you spent your time caring about your children and wanting the best for them...you willlearn to be grateful for your blessings and you will grow up and realize you were complaining about having someone who loved you and cared about your welfare---if moms are a little overbearing it is better than neglect and indifference. You are ungrateful because you do not understand a mother's love for her child. I hope you learn---even rhe hard way before it is to late.

To late for what? To say "no matter how badly you treat me, how much you demean me, how much you make me doubt myself, I know you love me"? How does her behaviour show care or love?

I would be keen to hear flowermoms definition of love?
Also, grateful is not a word one would expect to use between two equals is it?

my mother wants me to "take care of her" now that my dad is in the last stages of dementia. She expects me to do what he did all these years (61). For a few years I was evil and she barely taked to me. I have three children. The oldest may as well be her child. He does no wrong. The middle, is a girl and she is all wrong. The youngest I had no permission to have, so he is wrong too, but male so she tolerates him more than the girl. I lost my husband due to mother. He ran away and sneaks back occasionally when he can get under her radar. Now she needs care and so does my father. I think it would be a relief for her to die. I am no good, never have been. No one is good enough for me. I am isolated. Of course she has no money for a nursing home. They did not plan for that. I am the only child, so I can take care of them! Get out while you can, do not look back and do not feel guilty for enjoying your life and being free of your "smother mother."

@ blackmagic88, I thought that I was the only one who felt this way--getting pregnant or married just for an easy out to make your mother leave you alone. The problems are not only the obvious facts of unfairness to the respective parties, but a smother mother will find a way to trump the conditions in your life no matter what. I am 31 years old and recently became estranged from my mother when she kept asking me for money even though I no longer live with her and have a child of my own. Of course, the three able bodied siblings that are living in her house trump my one kid. After giving her money countless times and as the amount ballooned, I had to put a stop to giving. My mother is not working yet has cable--I don't even have cable, and she gets food stamps--I don't even get those. She has yet to pay back the amount she has "borrowed", and she has been extremely intrusive in my life. Last year, she snooped through my email and when she read some things she didn't like, she cussed me out, called me every name in the book and cc'd my friend that I originally engaged in correspondence with. Her only reasoning for her lunatic behavior was that she was prompted to go through my email. Prompted by what, I'll never know. My mother is a textbook narcissist, I can't even begin the laundry list of her self destruction and unhappiness. I take resolve in the fact that I can move on and raise my child in a positive and productive environment.

me too<br />
i dont know if i should be grateful or angry.. she had completely mentally crippled me.. and i dont know if im being dramatic or what..she has thought me to hate myself and my race...sometimes i just want to marry the next guy who comes along to get away from her..but that would be wrong to the person i marry :-(

I am 33 years old and am a financial failure, my boyfriend just left me, I have no friends (because they were never good enough). All I have is my parents and I tell them I need space to get myself together, to be an individual and they call to tell me about the temperature outside. I want to be free of this madness. I feel guilt at the same time because they have always helped me and been there but it that not what parents are supposed to do? I need to get away from them and shuck off all that they have driven into me because it makes me miserable.