Monday, July 16, 2007

Anonymous asks:

"My mom and I used to be very close. Let me say, she was a wonderful mom growing up. Now that I'm an adult and married, I almost feel like she's in competition with me. Not like with material things, but if I say something she doesn't agree with, she gives a snotty comment back. Or she'll complain non-stop about my grandma (her mother-in-law) and I'll try to point out things from grandma's point of view (she's dying and all of her friends are dead for example!). This annoys her to no end (I can never disagree with her or give a differing opinion) and she won't speak to me for days. It drives me crazy. It's to the point that I avoid any conversations with her unless I just want to smile and nod and agree with everything she says. I've tried bringing this up to her, but once I do she is immediately on guard and defensive about it. I miss our relationship, but I just feel like it's not worth the frustration and hurt it causes.

I love her to death and appreciate her, but sometimes I just want her to be a mom. (If it helps any, she has never kept friendships with females either. Always kinda made me wonder growing up why not and now I know!)"

Clearly, your mother was comfortable with the adult/child relationship that you once had. But coping with you as her equal is something she doesn't seem to be able to do. Often, when we as adults are around our parents we regress in subtle ways and act like we're children again. You are obviously not doing that, even to the point of trying to get your mother to be more compassionate towards her mother-in-law. Your mother is resentful of the fact that you are, in some ways, more of an adult than she is.

I think you need to sit her down and tell her that you miss the closeness you once had. She needs to see that the potential for an even better connection now that you are grown is there. I'd also lay off the suggestions about your grandmother for now. You're correct in what you're trying to do, but it may require backing off a bit in order to begin to repair the relationship with your mother.

Hopefully your mother is not really conscious of what she's doing. All you can do is point it out to her...the change itself has to come from her.

OK, we have to stop now.


Jean-Luc Picard said...

Good advice, PG. Sometimes, a child wants the relationship with a parent they used to have.

Michele sent me.

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