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.