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Mood Monster

My mom wasn't always the way she is now. In fact, growing up, I thought I had the best mom on the planet. She was beautiful, smart, easy going, and funny.

This all changed in 2000 when my 18yr old brother passed away. Since then my mom has gone through a lot of changes. She divorced my step-dad of 16yrs. She had to deal with empty nest as my other brother and I moved out and off to college.

I also know that my mom had a crazy *** childhood filled with abuse at the hands of a half-brother and also from my grandma.

But the last handful of years has been the very worst. It is now to the point where I cringe at the thought of having to spend time with her. She gets really angry out of nowhere and tends to throw fits for imagined slights. She doesn't communicate well. She also likes to believe that I am her private therapist. We have bad boundaries. She likes to tell me about her dating escapades, which I have virtually no interest in hearing about.

She is 56yrs old and is dating someone in their thirties. (I am 32.) So needless to say this is disturbing to me.

Whenever I'm around her I try to keep things as light as possible. I feel like she can get angry and pout over nothing so I have to be careful.

When we haven't seen each other in a month or more she tends to start sending me emotionally sappy emails to try and rope me back in. I do my best to navigate these emails. I talk about how I'm doing, how my fiancee is doing, how my cats are doing, how my job is, etc. I try to let her know that I love her, but that I need my space.

This strategy doesn't seem to work well. I don't know what to do anymore.
An Ep User An EP User 1 Response Feb 8, 2013

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I don't know if this is something you are willing to consider yet, but I have ceased communicating almost entirely with my borderline parent. It doesn't sound like you have attempted to communicate any of your feelings with her, about how she is making you uncomfortable or how she is being unjustifiably angry towards you. If you want to try to make things better before giving up, bring these things up with her in whatever way you feel comfortable with. By email, over the phone, or even in person (though given her current track record from what you've described I imagine the outcome will be increasingly unpleasant in that order...)

I tried for years to explain to my mother what she was doing wrong, how she was hurting me, and why it wasn't right. She never acknowledged any of it, always ended up accusing me of being the bad guy, and would at best blame someone else for the situation if not me directly. Nothing ever got through to her. It wasn't without much wasted effort on my part to improve things that I came to the conclusion of giving up on her. I don't intend to interact with her again until I have healed from this and am strong enough not to let her abuse phase me.

So, to summarize, be direct with your feelings and get your point across. This is less cruel than allowing it to continue, because it gives her the opportunity to resolve the issue and form a healthier relationship with you. It sounds like if things continue like this you will just continue distancing yourself from her. Better to do so knowing that it is the only way than to feel guilty about not trying to fix things.