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.

I'm baaaack. Fire away.

Monday, July 9, 2007

The HMDS is going on vacation this week, so please post lots of questions in the comments box and I'll address them all when I return!

Hey, at least it's not for the whole month of August.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

AKA Monty asks:

"I love men, but I've been single for a long time and at this point the thought of letting a man hold my remote control makes me break out in a cold sweat. Why do some women think that every woman needs a man to be complete, and to be happy?
I'm surprised whenever I run into this attitude, especially in this day and age."

I'm with you, AKA. It is surprising to run into that attitude today but it's definitely out there. Sometimes, it comes from women who actually do feel like they need men in their lives, unable to relate to the idea of not needing them.

The operative word here, though, is "need". Interestingly, I know many women who have been divorced or widowed for many years who have chosen to live alone. I don't know quite as many men in the same situation. For some of these men, "need" is what drives them to get into live-in situations quickly. For the women, they've found that the pros of being the mistresses of their own domains outweigh the cons of giving up the remote control.

I'm a firm believer in "never say never" (hell, I once said I'd never get married!), but if someday you choose to live with or marry someone it will be because you choose to, not because you need to. What you've come to realize is that you are fine alone, and that it might not be such a bad idea to have your own home base even if you find yourself in love again.

OK, we have to stop now.

First, I want to say welcome to all of you who are visiting via the fantabulous Michele. I am honored to be the Site of the Day over at her place.

Now, back to our session:

Stephanie asks:

"I have an extremely hard time getting motivated, and to have any sense of self-discipline. It seems like I never get the things done that I want/need to get done (such as cleaning house, doing writing work - my job - , watering plants, cutting the lawn, etc.), and I procrastinate until things become total wrecks. How can I instill more of a sense of self-discipline in myself? I really WANT to be more motivated, and accomplish more, but it seems like even wanting isn't enough :( "

For some people, resolving this issue is a matter of focusing on only one thing rather than thinking about the five million unfinished projects that need attention. It's the old "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." theory.

However, for others, this problem can be a signpost of a bigger issue: depression or adult ADHD. Having been married to someone with adult ADD (believe me, no "H" was involved) I know what this looks like. In his case, it was accompanied by self-medication (coffee addiction, pot smoking, mandatory beer or wine with dinner) but what he really needed was Ritalin.

Try the one-small-step-for-Stephanie approach. If that really doesn't work, consider seeing someone who can determine whether you can be helped by medication.

OK, we have to stop now.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Forbidden Planet

Technodoll asks:

If a man loves you, truly and honestly, why would he still feel the need to lie and hide things from you, little stupid things... As if having a secret life is a necessity to his survival? Does it have anything to do with them being from Mars?...

PS: is this related to men being incapable of changing the toilet paper roll?

Dear Technodoll,

I am so not into that Mars/Venus thing. Sometimes I think women are from Earth and men are from Uranus, but sometimes it's the other way around.

The key to your question, though, is the word "lie". If you had just asked why he might hide things from you, or not tell you everything, I'd say that some people just maintain control over their lives by not sharing all the details...even of insignificant things...with anyone.

This can be really frustrating for those of us who are open books. But it's just a matter of accepting that you're not in a relationship with YOU.

However...lying is never ok. Oh, of course someone might "lie" and say that you look absolutely radiant after 36 hours of labor, but that's not what we're talking about here. Trust is such a critical element of a healthy relationship that without it, what's left? You constantly trying to guess whether he's telling you the truth or not? That takes the control issue (see above) to a whole 'nother level. And moves your relationship firmly into the unhealthy zone.

It's time for you to move out of victim mode ("Why oh why does he do this?") into a place where you can sit him down and tell him that he's got to trust you enough to be honest with you, and you have to be able to believe what he says when he tells you something. And critical omissions are lying as well. ("Oh, did I forget to mention that I made out with my ex-girlfriend last night? Oops!")

But it's also important to let him know that he can have his privacy when it comes to things that you really don't need to know (the precise route he took driving home from work, unless it involved stopping off at the ex-girlfriend's place).

Maybe it's just me... but honesty is one of those non-negotiables. Ask yourself why you've been willing to accept less.

OK, we have to stop now.