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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » I feel like my mum doesn't respect me

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Author Topic: I feel like my mum doesn't respect me
blueberry
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I've been thinking about this for a while, and since I haven't got an appointment to see a counsellor yet I thought it'd be nice to talk about it here, if anyone wants to.

So: I'm trying to work on my issues with insecurity and self-esteem, and as a part of that I decided that I don't want to be around people who make me feel worthless or even more insecure about myself. I've had a lot of people like that in my life before, but luckily I'm not in touch with most of them anymore.

However, I still have this problem with my mum... I don't know where to start writing about this because it feels so complicated, but I've more or less always disliked (or sometimes hated) her while growing up, and I still do to some extent. She used to pull my hair when she got angry and we got into big fights all the time, and I never felt like I could talk to her about anything personal. I can't remember ever hugging her except at formal occasions such as graduating, or at the airport.

Now, of course I've had disagreements with the other people in my family as well, but with them our relationship has become much better since I moved out, and when I come to visit they seem glad to have me there. With my mum though, it's still the same as before. She's constantly complaining about my hair, my skin, the way I dress (I promise I don't walk around in rags!), how I behave, that I should get a job, what I'm studying, my life choices, etc.

On the other hand, she completely adores my boyfriend and seems really surprised that he would like me, which I also find quite hurtful. She may even say things such as "I hope you don't go around with dirty hair/in a pyjamas when he's around, you know guys don't like that" or something else to the point that I should behave in a certain way with him, which I find absolutely ridiculous (and also makes me wonder what her idea of a relationship is), but I keep hearing this nasty voice in my head that I'm not good enough for him so her comments don't really help to boost my confidence.

I've tried not to take anything she says too seriously, since it's clear we have quite different opinions on most things in life (and she is constantly talking badly about my older sisters behind their backs, whereas I've always looked up to them and would much rather take their advice than hers, on anything), but it's really hard not to be affected by it, especially since I'm already questioning myself a lot and I hate that she can still have this impact on me even though we don't live in the same house anymore.

And at the same time, she's always asking me (and my boyfriend) to come and visit, she calls me almost every week to ask if I'll come home for the weekend, but when I actually do she doesn't seem very happy about me being there. I don't know what to think.


The worst part is that I'm really scared I'm going to end up exactly like her, since I know we still have many traits in common and I can notice things in my own behaviour towards other people that reminds me of her, and that's the least thing in the world I want to happen.


I know it's common not to always agree with one's parents or get on great together, and I don't expect us to be best friends, but I wish she could respect me a bit more as a person. Has anyone been in a similar situation, or have any advice for how to deal with this?

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Heather
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I'm so sorry to hear this, Blueberry.

I think where I'd want to start with this is the information I don't feel like I have, which is if you even WANT your mother to be in your life (unless she decides to start behaving differently, or heck, even if she does). Do YOU want to see her and be around her?

I hear you saying she keeps asking you to visit, so she seems to be expressing she wants to see you, even though the way she behaves when you are around her makes you wonder why. But do you actually want to see her?

And if you do want to, do you think it's actually good for you to do that, especially if after telling her all of this, and asking her to change the way she talks to you and treats you, she doesn't follow though with any efforts at doing so?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Also, HAVE you ever told her all that you've said here and then set real limits with her if she wants to see you? If so, how did that go?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Hi Heather; thanks so much for replying.

Well, not really. I think it would be better for me not to see her, at least for a while so I could work on my self-esteem without having her questioning me all the time.

But she's still my mum, and I don't want to stop visiting the rest of my family... especially since I don't have a very big social circle otherwise. Plus, I still depend on them economically, so I feel like I need to be on good terms with them.

During the school year I don't have to visit them very often if I don't want to, but what I'm worried about are the summer months. I've applied for jobs elsewhere, but if I don't get anything I have the choice of either staying with my family, or staying in our own flat alone and with nothing to do for three months (all my friends will have gone to their home towns over summer). I don't know which sounds more depressing.

As far as I remember, I don't think I've ever told her this much about how I feel. Sometimes when she's made one of her comments, I've just asked her to stop doing that, but she has never taken it seriously. I find anything to do with feelings very hard to talk about with her; even if I just say that I feel stressed out or ill, she'll tell me to stop being silly because there are other people who have it much worse.

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Heather
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Would it help to talk a bit more personally about not seeing her for a while, since you're saying you don't want to?

I ask because I went several years without seeing or talking to my mother. Initially, that was her choice, but a bit later on, and for longer, it was mine. Mind, economic support wasn't part of that equation, but still, it's a choice I made that worked for me.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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How do you mean, like talking about it here? About what I could do if I don't see her? (I'm a bit confused!)

Did you see other members of your family when you weren't seeing your mother? If so, how did you solve that? I'd love to hear about your experience if you've been in a similar situation =)

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Heather
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Yes, I mean like talking about it here.

When I wasn't talking with my mother, I was still involved with my father. But that was always pretty separate: my parents liked each other for only slightly longer than the amount of time it took to make me and my sister. They were only together for a few years of my life.

I also was not in contact with most of my mother's family during those years.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Oh, I see. In my case, my mum, my dad and brother are all living together and my sister lives in the same city as them, so usually when I want to see her I'm also staying at my parents' house. And I do want to stay in contact with my cousins and aunts on my mother's side.
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Heather
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Well, you certainly don't have to stay at your parents house to visit/stay in the city.

As well, you have the option of taking distance from your mother and still talking to or seeing your other family members. This is something you can talk about with any of them, and if you're setting limits with your mother, you can also make clear that -- if this is the case -- if you're not seeing/speaking with her for a given period of time, or until she makes some agreements with you about the way she treats you, you do still intend to see other family members.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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But... I'm not sure if that's what I want to do.

And I don't see how I could possible tell my mum, or anyone else in my family, that I don't want to see or talk to her and still expect them to support me economically. Both my parents have always been very supportive of me financially, and I feel it would be ungrateful to break off contact with them now.

Perhaps it would be enough not to visit my family as much as I've used to... but I feel so lonely already, I don't want to shut more people out of my life, maybe just my mum... or, it's not that I don't want to see her at all, I just wish she would focus on her own life instead of picking on me.

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Heather
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Well, sounds like it's something for you to think more about.

I agree, asking for financial support from someone you're cutting ties with -- even temporarily -- once you're an adult is asking too much. That's an opinion issue, but I share yours on that.

So, it may be that some of what you need to think about is what you're willing to do for that money, and how it might, or might not, benefit you to stop being financially dependent and forge out on your own.

Mind, there are certainly other steps between cutting ties, like telling your mother that whatever her opinions of her treatment of you, YOU are telling her that treatment hurts you and makes you not want to be around her, and YOU are asking her to please behave differently, for your sake and the sake of your relationships.

This is a relationship like any other in the respect that you get to -- and will sometimes need to -- set and hold limits.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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blueberry
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Mmm.

Yes, I think my first step should be to at least try to tell my mum how I feel about this, because I'm not sure she understands it. At least, next time I see her and if she makes a hurtful comment, I could just ask her directly why she does that and how she thinks it's going to help, and see what she says. But for now I'm going to say I don't have time to visit (which is true).

I'm not sure about this, but I don't think she does it on purpose just to be mean. I *think* she might be disappointed with how her own life has turned out because she doesn't seem like a very happy person to me, and I'm not sure she even wanted to have kids in the first place... but I don't know how I could help her with that.

My sister understands how I feel about my mum (we don't have the same mother) so I think she would be fine with me coming to visit her without telling my parents I'm in town, though.


Being more financially independent would probably be good for me even though it sounds really scary right now - but I guess that's part of the deal.

Thing is, I've never actually had a real job, other than babysitting and such, and with my self-esteem as it is I've been convinced I'm never going to get one because who wants to hire a 21-year-old with absolutely no experience? I've also been struggling with learning the main language of the country where I'm living, which is a requirement for most jobs.

But! I just got accepted for a training programme (not sure what the correct term is, but when you learn a job by doing it?) via my university, which I'm really really happy about [Smile] So now I will at least start getting some experience, and I know what to do for part of the summer holidays.

In any case, I think I have some way to go before I could be completely financially independent... but if it would help, I could stop accepting money from my mum as I get most of my financial help from my dad and I have a much better relationship with him.

Posts: 66 | From: Scandinavia | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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