Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

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belled
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Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Hi, it’s me again. For the past few years, I’ve had a huge crush on this one professional athlete. It started when I was 13/14 and I’m 18 now. At first, I thought it was just a “girl crush” because I really admire her as a person. She’s 10 years older than me, so I always looked up to her like she was an older sister. She also has great taste in clothes, so she’s my main fashion inspiration too. But I slowly realized that I felt attracted to her. She was actually my first female crush, and that’s how I figured out that I’m gay.

Anyway, I run a fan page for her on Instagram. Once in a while, she’ll leave short comments on my posts, and we’ve had a few short conversations. I know that it’s not right to flirt with her because that’s kind of creepy, but I get so excited when I get messages from her. One time, I sent her a picture of me and she said that I looked pretty. I know she wasn’t actually flirting with me, but it made my heart flutter all day.

I’m aware that a relationship between us could never happen. I would never actually date someone that much older than me, especially not at this age. We live in different countries, and she has a boyfriend. (She’s hinted that she’s bisexual, but that still doesn’t really change anything). But even though I know it’s all impossible, I can’t stop thinking about her. I think about her every time I listen to love songs. I’m jealous of her boyfriend because I feel like he doesn’t deserve her and I know I could treat her better than he does (he cheated on her in the past). I stopped following her and even abandoned my fan page for a while, but I got really depressed and I found that she’s one of the few things that really makes me happy. Sometimes I think I might stop fantasizing about this imaginary love if I got a real girlfriend, but all the girls I’ve met just seem boring and plain-looking compared to her. Is this a normal level of silly teenage infatuation, or am I being creepy and weird?
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there, belled.

Before I say more, can I ask you to say a little about what YOU feel and think about the answer to that last question? How do you feel about this? Is this something that mostly makes you feel good about yourself? Does it feel like it benefits your life, or is keeping you from it? Do you feel like you have a good handle on boundaries here, and on the power/investment differential in this relationship, as it were? Does it feel healthy to you or not?
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Heather wrote:Hey there, belled.

Before I say more, can I ask you to say a little about what YOU feel and think about the answer to that last question? How do you feel about this? Is this something that mostly makes you feel good about yourself? Does it feel like it benefits your life, or is keeping you from it? Do you feel like you have a good handle on boundaries here, and on the power/investment differential in this relationship, as it were? Does it feel healthy to you or not?



Hi Heather,
To be honest, I’m not really sure how to feel about this. I think certain parts are fine and certain parts are a bit iffy. On one hand, thinking about her makes me feel happy because I have really positive emotions towards her. I’ve never been in love with anyone before, so I guess this just feels kind of magical and exciting to me. At the same time, I think I might be a little too invested in this one-way relationship. There’s a little part of me that feels sad because we can’t be together, so sometimes this whole thing feels a little bittersweet.

However, I think I have strong boundaries with it because I know I would never act on it in real life. It’s not like I’m stalking her or anything. I know I’m not going to hop on a plane to her country, show up at her door, and ask her to marry me. Our interactions have always been appropriate and professional (I sometimes tell her that she looks beautiful, but it’s not in a creepy way). I would never want to make her feel uncomfortable by imposing my feelings on her.

At the same time, I still feel a little uncomfortable with my physical attraction towards her. I don’t believe in objectifying women or anything, but sometimes these smutty thoughts about her will just pop into my head. When she posts pictures, I can’t help checking out her body (especially when she posts pictures in her bathing suit). She shows up in a lot of my sex-related thoughts, but I think I have a logical explanation for that. She was my first female crush, so whenever I try to picture what a sexual relationship with a woman would be, my brain naturally pictures her. And even when I do have a sexual thought about her, I don’t go and entertain it; I keep moving within 5 minutes. However, I do feel a little awkward talking to her because she doesn’t know I’m gay and she has no idea that I wish I could get with her. It makes me feel kind of guilty because I think she thinks I just like her for who she is. I know it’s normal for people my age to be full of hormones, but I think this fixation on her is a little too intense.

I will admit that it takes up a lot of time in my day, but I think that’s kind of normal? All my straight friends are constantly talking about boys, and I don’t think I spend more time talking/thinking about my crush than they spend on boys. I mean, my best friend literally thinks she wants marry Harry Styles, and she has posters of him on her walls. I don’t think my crush is crazier than that. However, I think it feels different because I do actually interact with this person sometimes. My friend is never going to talk to Harry Styles, but I talk to this woman every few months. The interactions are brief, but they mean more to me than they’re supposed to.

I wonder if maybe I just like the idea of having a relationship without actually dealing with the tough part of it? I’m really not sure. I don’t think any of this is her fault, but I do think that maybe my brain is twisting this whole “casual friendship” into “imaginary romantic relationship”.
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Sofi »

Hi belled,
Honestly, I don't think this is "weird" or out of line. First of all, you are clearly aware of this being a crush and not an actual relationship, and also you're respectful of boundaries. Sure, you spend a lot of time thinking about her, but you respect her when you do talk to her and that's important. I understand your feelings of not wanting to objectify her, but keep in mind she doesn't know you think of her in a sexual or romantic way, so you aren't disrespecting her by simply having fantasies about her. Clearly you really like her but you also know you aren't actually dating her and that is how you're drawing a line that is crucial here. Too, as you mentioned, we see this behavior all the time with straight girls and it isn't looked down on; just because your crush is a woman, doesn't change anything. You did bring up an interesting point about perhaps wanting this idea of a relationship, without the arguments and sacifices etc. If you feel that's what's going on here, does that bother you particularly? Again, it doesn't seem you're doing anything unhealthy to yourself or to her. As long as those boundaries are respected, there's nothing wrong with having a big time crush on a celeb!
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Sofi wrote:Hi belled,
Honestly, I don't think this is "weird" or out of line. First of all, you are clearly aware of this being a crush and not an actual relationship, and also you're respectful of boundaries. Sure, you spend a lot of time thinking about her, but you respect her when you do talk to her and that's important. I understand your feelings of not wanting to objectify her, but keep in mind she doesn't know you think of her in a sexual or romantic way, so you aren't disrespecting her by simply having fantasies about her. Clearly you really like her but you also know you aren't actually dating her and that is how you're drawing a line that is crucial here. Too, as you mentioned, we see this behavior all the time with straight girls and it isn't looked down on; just because your crush is a woman, doesn't change anything. You did bring up an interesting point about perhaps wanting this idea of a relationship, without the arguments and sacifices etc. If you feel that's what's going on here, does that bother you particularly? Again, it doesn't seem you're doing anything unhealthy to yourself or to her. As long as those boundaries are respected, there's nothing wrong with having a big time crush on a celeb!


Thanks Sofi, I appreciate your response! As you said, I have worked really hard to set some boundaries with my crush, but I guess I’m just having a hard time maintaining them lately. I know that any advances I make would probably end in rejection and it would ruin the casual platonic relationship that we already have, but sometimes I just want to cross the line, even though I know it would be a disaster. I already feel like I’ve tested the boundaries a few times (I sometimes leave slightly flirtatious comments on her pictures like “smokin’ hot!” or “I’m in love”) and I feel kind of guilty because she sees them as casual, playful compliments whereas I see them as my honest feelings. So I guess I’m just struggling to keep my romantic feelings to myself.

I can’t really tell how she would react if she knew I was in love with her. Part of me thinks she’d just laugh it off and say she was flattered, but part of me thinks she wouldn’t like being friends anymore (for clarification, I wouldn’t say we’re best friends or anything, but we talk several times a year and she is aware of who I am).

I do agree that there is a bit of a double standard between straight girls crushing on guys and gay girls crushing on women. I wouldn’t say I feel any guilt about the fact that my crush is a woman, but I do feel like the relationship dynamic is different because my crush is queer too. When I have crushes on straight women, I don’t feel so awkward because I know I have no chance of being with them. But this woman feels more accessible to me because she is 1) bisexual, 2) willing to talk to me on a regular basis, and 3) has a personality that I really vibe with. I know that these things don’t really mean anything because she’s currently in a relationship (and she doesn’t live near me) but I guess it’s harder for me to laugh it off and say it’s impossible for us to be together when I know that there are aspects of this fantasy relationship that would actually work.

I definitely think my theory about wanting the idea of the relationship without the struggle is true. I’m 18 and I’ve never dated anyone before, but I know that I’m in no hurry to get in a relationship. I’m not super social (I love talking to people on social media, but I get a bit of social anxiety around people in real life), and having relationships is hard for me. So I don’t want a relationship, but I crave certain aspects of having a girlfriend. At the end of the day, I’m still a hormonal teen who wants to make out with sexy women. And I still crave the romantic aspects of a relationship, such as buying matching Christmas stockings, going on trips to Europe together, or just being able to borrow my girlfriend’s sweaters. With this crush, I can fantasize about the fun aspects of a relationship (shopping, traveling, and a whole lot of sex) without dealing with the unpleasant parts of a relationship. For me, entertaining this fantasy with my crush feels kind of like a hookup with no strings attached, but it still provides the emotional fulfillment I need from a relationship.

Once again, thank you so much for your help!
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Heather »

You know, I just want to add my two cents, which you can take or leave.

I do feel a little concerned that if you don't make *some* distance and space from this, you might start to find it harder and harder to move away from your fantasy relationship to pursue actual relationships which can offer you a whole lot more than something so one-sided and so full of projection can. I have a thought about that: how might you feel about passing on the management of the fan page to someone else? That way, it's not something you have to be SO involved with -- and that you have an excuse to literally obsess about -- but you can still have your crush. That way, you get some space you don't have right now that might allow you to start thinking about people you can actually have mutual and intimate relationships with, now or eventually, and opening yourself up to that, but you still can crush out here, it just becomes less of your whole life.

You say there are no strings attached, but from where I am sitting, you look very, very attached to me.
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Heather wrote:You know, I just want to add my two cents, which you can take or leave.

I do feel a little concerned that if you don't make *some* distance and space from this, you might start to find it harder and harder to move away from your fantasy relationship to pursue actual relationships which can offer you a whole lot more than something so one-sided and so full of projection can. I have a thought about that: how might you feel about passing on the management of the fan page to someone else? That way, it's not something you have to be SO involved with -- and that you have an excuse to literally obsess about -- but you can still have your crush. That way, you get some space you don't have right now that might allow you to start thinking about people you can actually have mutual and intimate relationships with, now or eventually, and opening yourself up to that, but you still can crush out here, it just becomes less of your whole life.

You say there are no strings attached, but from where I am sitting, you look very, very attached to me.


Hi Heather, I really appreciate your feedback. I will admit that my crush has caused me to lose interest in real-life relationships. But my mom says I can’t date until I’m done with college, so it’s not like I can really get a two-sided relationship in the next 4 1/2 years. (I’m actually just a senior in high school right now). And I’m not even mad at my mom about it because I know I’m not emotionally mature enough to have a romantic relationship. That said, I know I’ll eventually have to let go of this crush if I ever want to date someone in real life. It’s just hard to let her go because she’s the closest thing to a real girlfriend I’ll have until I’m at least 22. I know 4 years isn’t a long time in the bigger picture of life, but right now, it feels like I’m going to be alone for soooooo long.

Giving the fan page to someone else is a really good idea. I don’t know if I’m ready to just give her up all the way, but maybe taking a few steps back would be healthier for both of us in the long run.

I guess when I said it was “no strings attached”, I just meant that I don’t have to deal with all the aspects of a real relationship (e.g. introducing her to my parents, trying to make time for each other, etc). I guess the way I see my crush is closer to “friends with benefits” than “one-night stand”. Even though I do have sexual thoughts about her, I see her first and foremost as someone I admire and someone with a great personality. I guess she’s a big inspiration to me. So maybe I want the emotional support of a relationship without having to give real emotional support back? I struggle with a lot of mental health problems, so I don’t really have the energy to support other people right now. But I still really crave that emotional intimacy with someone, even though I know I can’t give much in return.

Anyway, I’ll try to take a step back from my crush. I think it started out innocently enough, but it’s getting a little bit out of control and the best choice is probably to deal with my own issues so I can eventually be able to have a real relationship. Thanks for your advice.
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Heather »

If you want to talk about managing your rights and your parents around dating, I'm happy to. You probably don't need me to tell you that at 18, unless she has extended legal guardianship over you, your mother doesn't actually get to decide that for you anymore, and so obviously there's some kind of agreement here (I can only presume). If you're not okay with that and it isn't something you want, we can talk about it anytime. If not, that's okay, too!

I am sorry to hear you sounding so low on yourself. You know, what we have the maturity for can very much be based on...well, what we have the maturity for. We can have emotionally intimate relationships at every age, even as children. We can make them to match our own readiness and our own abilities and limits, you know? It's not like they are at some given level we have to rise to meet. Between this and what I said above, and the fact that it sounds like you don't *want* to be without that kind of companionship for years more, I just want you to know that you don't have to go without it. Truly.

I can totally understand the spot you got in with your crush, and while it sounds like it's perhaps gotten to the point where some of it might not be so great for you, and some adjustments might be a good idea, it certainly doesn't sound like it's been a bad thing for you up until now. It sounds like it has, indeed, offered you quite a lot!
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Heather wrote:If you want to talk about managing your rights and your parents around dating, I'm happy to. You probably don't need me to tell you that at 18, unless she has extended legal guardianship over you, your mother doesn't actually get to decide that for you anymore, and so obviously there's some kind of agreement here (I can only presume). If you're not okay with that and it isn't something you want, we can talk about it anytime. If not, that's okay, too!

I am sorry to hear you sounding so low on yourself. You know, what we have the maturity for can very much be based on...well, what we have the maturity for. We can have emotionally intimate relationships at every age, even as children. We can make them to match our own readiness and our own abilities and limits, you know? It's not like they are at some given level we have to rise to meet. Between this and what I said above, and the fact that it sounds like you don't *want* to be without that kind of companionship for years more, I just want you to know that you don't have to go without it. Truly.

I can totally understand the spot you got in with your crush, and while it sounds like it's perhaps gotten to the point where some of it might not be so great for you, and some adjustments might be a good idea, it certainly doesn't sound like it's been a bad thing for you up until now. It sounds like it has, indeed, offered you quite a lot!


Hey, I’d actually love to talk about the issues regarding my mom. My mom unfortunately experienced a lot of trauma in her life, which has made her paranoid. Even small incidents are traumatic to her now. For example, I got rear-ended while I was learning how to drive (no one was hurt and we were going at a slow speed) and my mom freaked out because she thought she almost lost her daughter. I tried to get her to go to therapy, but she’s convinced that I’m just being reckless and immature. I’m an only child and I’m basically all the family she has left, so she’s convinced that it’s her job to protect me from every bad thing in the world.

I know that she doesn’t mean to be controlling, but her issues sometimes make my life difficult. For example, I got an offer to attend a really good college that’s a 2-hour drive away, but she said she couldn’t make the drive because she’s scared of driving on the big highway, and she said I couldn’t drive myself because it’s not safe for a teenage girl to be traveling alone (she has a fear that my car will break down and some guy will kidnap me from the side of the road). I tried to argue with her about it, but she just got upset and said that she didn’t want to lose her only child. So I’m going to another school that’s closer to home, even though it’s not my first choice. And that’s just how it is with her. She means well, but she lets her fears take over our lives. So that’s the situation with my mom.

I want to be free, but part of me is scared of being on my own for the first time. I’ve relied so much on my mom that I don’t really know how to be independent. I’ve literally never been left home alone. I’ve never stayed over at a friend’s house for the night. I’ve never even gone to the mall without her. I will be getting my driver’s license this summer and I’ll start college in the fall, so I know that I’ll finally have the opportunity to be more independent. But I just feel like I’m going to be vulnerable because I’m so inexperienced.

I think the reason why I feel so immature is because my mom has always done everything for me (except my schoolwork). I still don’t know how to do my own laundry or dishes, and sometimes I literally cry when I’m trying to cook even the simplest meals. And I’m super socially awkward because I rarely interact with people other than my mom. I know I’m not stupid - I’m an excellent student and I’m kind of a philosophy geek - but I’m afraid I’ll be really naive and sheltered when I actually start talking to people at college. I’m scared that someone will be able to easily take advantage of me because I don’t know a thing about dating. I talk to other teens on social media about it and they’re often pretty helpful, but I still feel unprepared.

I like your idea about how not all relationships have to be really mature. Honestly, I’d love having a casual, fun relationship. But my mom is still way too invested in my life right now, and I’m afraid she’ll interfere if I start dating in college. My college is only a 40-minute drive from my house, and my mom says she plans on visiting twice a month. She also wants to call me every single night to make sure I’m okay. So it would be really difficult to hide a secret girlfriend from her, and I really don’t like keeping secrets in the first place. No matter what, she’s still my mom and I love her. I don’t want to cut her out of my life forever. I want to be able to introduce my future girlfriend to my mom someday and have my mom accept her into our family. I want my mom to be okay with it when my wife and I move to another city together. And I know that won’t happen unless I’m being honest with my mom.

That said...I’m 18 and I’m REALLY into girls. The university I’ll be attending has a large LGBT club, so there’ll be plenty of queer women there. And if a hot girl wants to get with me...it might be hard for me to say no.

As for my celebrity crush, I want to gradually let go of it and get to a point in life when I don’t need it anymore. It was really helpful to me as a teenager, but now I’m an adult and I need to start making a life of my own. To be honest, I think my crush is just a way of expressing my sexuality in a world where I’ve never really had the opportunity to try it out in real life. I’m hoping it will back off as I start actually interacting with people.
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Belled,

Heather is out for the day, but I wanted you to know this was seen and they'll pick back up when they're in again.
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Heather »

belled, thanks for being so open and sharing all of that with me.

I'm so sorry that this has been the situation and dynamic you have been living with for so long. You're so empathetic and caring towards your mother: I really admire how kind you are and how understanding, even when her own issues have had such an impact on you. It takes quite a person to be that way. That said, I do think that it's important that you start doing what you can to become less enmeshed so that you can become independent from her, move into your own life, and be able to care for and about her without also being so controlled.

I agree with you, it sounds like your mother could really use the help of a therapist. It doesn't sound likely that she'll do that while you're still home, but perhaps when you go, she might be more inclined. I went to college with a very emotionally dependent parent, and was wholly unprepared for how they'd react, so when the time comes closer for you to go, if you'd like some tips from someone who's been there on how you might manage that in advance so it doesn't make your college life very difficult, please know I'm happy to help. I didn't have any help with it, and boy, could I ever have used it. I do think that at the very least, as you get closer to going, you'll want to agree on some better limits and boundaries with her, like NOT having a call every night. You deserve to have a college experience and a life that doesn't stay centered on your mother, and she needs to find a way to start giving you that. She owes you that, truly. Learning to let go so your child can be independent is part of parenting, one of the most important parts.

I think I see some ways I can help, and I'd be happy to. I am 100% here for writing out instructables about doing laundry and dishes (and let me just tell you that you are nowhere near the only person your age who doesn't know how to do this stuff, I promise). We also love to cook around here as a staff, so I know that if you tell us what you like to eat, I bet we could all easily come up with a small cache of easy how-to's for cooking some meals you like. We all need to know how to do these things, and it's making you feel bad: help like this is easy to give and seems one way we can help you start to improve your situation with a light lift on our part. So, if that sounds good, say the word, and we'll hop on it. :)

Another thing that I think might help is for YOU to get into therapy for yourself. Some help learning how to separate from your mother some emotionally and how to set healthy limits and boundaries would probably really help you out, as would, I suspect, another supportive person you could talk to. It might also help you some with your social confidence, too. If that's something you're open to, I'd be happy to help you look into your options there.

I don't want to overwhelm you with too much at once, but I want you to know that I'm rooting for you, and you are welcome to use the support here as much as you like. We've sometimes had users here who use this for years as a way to get through complex situations and life transitions like this, and that's always one option if it's useful. I'm open to helping you however we can: I really feel for the spot you're in, and I want to do whatever we can to help you transition into a life that actually feels like yours where you can start to pursue the intimate relationships you want to and other parts of life you're hungry for.

I hope you know that doing that isn't a betrayal of your mother, even though it's entirely possible that in some part of this, it might feel that way to her and she might even present it that way from a place of fear and hurt. But as things have been absolutely isn't healthy or good for either of you, so honestly, you transitioning into your own independent life is ultimately likely to be the very best thing for both of you AND your relationship with each other. <3
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Heather wrote:belled, thanks for being so open and sharing all of that with me.

I'm so sorry that this has been the situation and dynamic you have been living with for so long. You're so empathetic and caring towards your mother: I really admire how kind you are and how understanding, even when her own issues have had such an impact on you. It takes quite a person to be that way. That said, I do think that it's important that you start doing what you can to become less enmeshed so that you can become independent from her, move into your own life, and be able to care for and about her without also being so controlled.

I agree with you, it sounds like your mother could really use the help of a therapist. It doesn't sound likely that she'll do that while you're still home, but perhaps when you go, she might be more inclined. I went to college with a very emotionally dependent parent, and was wholly unprepared for how they'd react, so when the time comes closer for you to go, if you'd like some tips from someone who's been there on how you might manage that in advance so it doesn't make your college life very difficult, please know I'm happy to help. I didn't have any help with it, and boy, could I ever have used it. I do think that at the very least, as you get closer to going, you'll want to agree on some better limits and boundaries with her, like NOT having a call every night. You deserve to have a college experience and a life that doesn't stay centered on your mother, and she needs to find a way to start giving you that. She owes you that, truly. Learning to let go so your child can be independent is part of parenting, one of the most important parts.

I think I see some ways I can help, and I'd be happy to. I am 100% here for writing out instructables about doing laundry and dishes (and let me just tell you that you are nowhere near the only person your age who doesn't know how to do this stuff, I promise). We also love to cook around here as a staff, so I know that if you tell us what you like to eat, I bet we could all easily come up with a small cache of easy how-to's for cooking some meals you like. We all need to know how to do these things, and it's making you feel bad: help like this is easy to give and seems one way we can help you start to improve your situation with a light lift on our part. So, if that sounds good, say the word, and we'll hop on it. :)

Another thing that I think might help is for YOU to get into therapy for yourself. Some help learning how to separate from your mother some emotionally and how to set healthy limits and boundaries would probably really help you out, as would, I suspect, another supportive person you could talk to. It might also help you some with your social confidence, too. If that's something you're open to, I'd be happy to help you look into your options there.

I don't want to overwhelm you with too much at once, but I want you to know that I'm rooting for you, and you are welcome to use the support here as much as you like. We've sometimes had users here who use this for years as a way to get through complex situations and life transitions like this, and that's always one option if it's useful. I'm open to helping you however we can: I really feel for the spot you're in, and I want to do whatever we can to help you transition into a life that actually feels like yours where you can start to pursue the intimate relationships you want to and other parts of life you're hungry for.

I hope you know that doing that isn't a betrayal of your mother, even though it's entirely possible that in some part of this, it might feel that way to her and she might even present it that way from a place of fear and hurt. But as things have been absolutely isn't healthy or good for either of you, so honestly, you transitioning into your own independent life is ultimately likely to be the very best thing for both of you AND your relationship with each other. <3


Thank you so much for this long response!

I am currently figuring out a plan that will allow me to be more independent without making my mom freak out. I think going to college will help me start getting some distance, and I’ll keep making little changes to get more distance after that. I think the idea of me being in college is freaking her out because it’s new and unfamiliar, but I’m hoping that we can establish a rhythm until she becomes more comfortable with it. I hope she’ll relax after she can see that clearly everything is fine.

I explained to my mom that I’m going to be involved in a lot of stuff while I’m in college (I’m doing a double major, and I’ll probably be working part-time to pay for my tuition). I’ve already got plans to join some clubs and keep a balance so my life isn’t totally centered around her.

I really appreciate all of your help about the chores! I’m just a little inexperienced in that area. My mom did try to teach me how to do some chores a few years ago, but she’s such a perfectionist that she prefers to do them all herself, so I haven’t really had the chance to practice.

I have gone to therapy before, but tbh it just made me feel more restless. My therapist kept encouraging me to be more independent, but it was frustrating because I already knew all the things she was saying. To be honest, I wouldn’t feel too guilty about moving a few hours away in the future. I don’t really feel emotionally torn about the situation. If anything, I just don’t want to deal with my mom’s reaction when I finally do it.

Once again, I really appreciate all of your advice and support. Sometimes just talking about it helps me clear up what’s going on and how I feel about it!

I actually have a long-term plan to get a more independent life. I live in the Midwest, but it’s my dream to live in California and go to law school at Stanford (or UCLA if I don’t get into Stanford). I know it will be hard for my mom, but with a lawyer’s salary, I could afford to fly home and see my mom several times a year. I feel like that would be a nice compromise because I could have the life I want without totally cutting off contact with her. It probably won’t go over well in the beginning, but I know I can make it work if I keep working hard.

That said, I guess there’s a part of me that keeps saying “Are you crazy? California is huge! You’ll literally die trying to drive in LA! And Stanford is almost impossible to get into! And law school is so expensive!!!” I’m not sure if that’s my own honest fear or if that’s something I internalized from living with my mom for so long. I’ve always been a really ambitious person, but that’s never gone well with my mom’s very cautious nature.

Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to help me!
Siân
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Siân »

Hi belled,

Heather may have more to add when they get in, but I just wanted to add another voice saying that creating some independence sounds like a really good thing for you, and hopefully college will help you do that. Even simple things like switching some of those phonecalls for texts might help you set boundaries and find some space for yourself.

As for those fears, I think that it's easy to look at other people taking on big challenges and assume that they are fearless. Secretly though, I'm pretty sure most of them are feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Those concerns can help you make better plans too. Sure Stanford is hard to get into, so what can you do in your next couple of years of college to make your application even better? I can't tell you how many of your concerns come from your mom, but you have them now, so which ones are going to help you make better plans, and which ones fall apart on closer inspection?
Heather
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Heather »

Hey there. Thanks for filling me in some more.

I think that one thing you're going to have to keep in mind is that you can't control your mother's feelings or responses. I know she has certainly given you the idea that you can, but you actually can't, and trying to do things in such a way that you try is where this dynamic goes from dysfunctional to outrightly emotionally abusive, with you trying to do what you can to keep your mother from having reactions that do you harm or control you. Know what I mean?

That said, if getting out of your home is something where you feel like you do have to play this that way, it might actually be helpful to make an actual safety plan. Obviously, in your case we're not talking about physical or sexual abuse, but about emotional control, but some of the same tactics to leave those kinds of relationships safely and effectively may come in handy, so it might be worth taking a look at them as we talk about this: The Scarleteen Safety Plan.

I also hear you in that it probably is a good strategy to make more space for yourself after you're gone than to try and make agreements with her to give it to you before you leave, particularly since the latter will probably result in her putting more pressure on you not to leave at all, which you obviously don't need.

Per therapy, every therapist isn't the same, and it sounds like yours wasn't a good fit for you and didn't suit your needs. If you are interested in trying again to find someone else who does, I'm happy to help. If not, and something like our service and other kinds of support seem to do the job for you, that's cool, too!

I agree with what Siân said about Stanford and California. I also think that you probably don't have a realistic sense of your own abilities yet because you a) haven't been allowed to actually try them on, whether we're talking about things like daily life activities or living on your own in another state, and b) have been living in a dynamic where that dynamic basically requires you to think you're less capable than you are. My gut tells me that once you're out on your own, you're going to surprise yourself and find that you're a lot more capable than you've been led to think and believe you are.

On that note, I wonder if one of the smaller steps you can take with your Mom is to set a limit where you insist that she let you do things like your own laundry and cooking sometimes. You can let her know that you don't feel good about yourself not knowing how, and so you get that she has a way she likes to do it, but that you really need to start learning YOUR ways for your self-esteem. If you center it on you in that way rather than making it about her control, she might be receptive?

Also, let me know about any daily life things you want instructions written out for. I grew up in much the opposite way as you have, having to fend for myself when I was really young and do all this stuff very early, so it's all pretty rote for me, especially in my advanced years! :P
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
belled
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Siân wrote:Hi belled,

Heather may have more to add when they get in, but I just wanted to add another voice saying that creating some independence sounds like a really good thing for you, and hopefully college will help you do that. Even simple things like switching some of those phonecalls for texts might help you set boundaries and find some space for yourself.

As for those fears, I think that it's easy to look at other people taking on big challenges and assume that they are fearless. Secretly though, I'm pretty sure most of them are feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Those concerns can help you make better plans too. Sure Stanford is hard to get into, so what can you do in your next couple of years of college to make your application even better? I can't tell you how many of your concerns come from your mom, but you have them now, so which ones are going to help you make better plans, and which ones fall apart on closer inspection?


Hi Sian, thank you so much for your support!

I definitely want to convert my mom from phone calls to texts because it’s much less time-consuming. I know she tends to be more comfortable with phone calls, but I’m hoping that I can ease her into texting at least part of the time.

I really like your tips about building up my Stanford application during college. I definitely want to try student government and participate in some internships abroad. I think college might actually help me gain some confidence in my ability to manage situations without my mom. I’m probably just freaking out because I’ve never done anything like this before.
belled
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Heather wrote:Hey there. Thanks for filling me in some more.

I think that one thing you're going to have to keep in mind is that you can't control your mother's feelings or responses. I know she has certainly given you the idea that you can, but you actually can't, and trying to do things in such a way that you try is where this dynamic goes from dysfunctional to outrightly emotionally abusive, with you trying to do what you can to keep your mother from having reactions that do you harm or control you. Know what I mean?

That said, if getting out of your home is something where you feel like you do have to play this that way, it might actually be helpful to make an actual safety plan. Obviously, in your case we're not talking about physical or sexual abuse, but about emotional control, but some of the same tactics to leave those kinds of relationships safely and effectively may come in handy, so it might be worth taking a look at them as we talk about this: The Scarleteen Safety Plan.

I also hear you in that it probably is a good strategy to make more space for yourself after you're gone than to try and make agreements with her to give it to you before you leave, particularly since the latter will probably result in her putting more pressure on you not to leave at all, which you obviously don't need.

Per therapy, every therapist isn't the same, and it sounds like yours wasn't a good fit for you and didn't suit your needs. If you are interested in trying again to find someone else who does, I'm happy to help. If not, and something like our service and other kinds of support seem to do the job for you, that's cool, too!

I agree with what Siân said about Stanford and California. I also think that you probably don't have a realistic sense of your own abilities yet because you a) haven't been allowed to actually try them on, whether we're talking about things like daily life activities or living on your own in another state, and b) have been living in a dynamic where that dynamic basically requires you to think you're less capable than you are. My gut tells me that once you're out on your own, you're going to surprise yourself and find that you're a lot more capable than you've been led to think and believe you are.

On that note, I wonder if one of the smaller steps you can take with your Mom is to set a limit where you insist that she let you do things like your own laundry and cooking sometimes. You can let her know that you don't feel good about yourself not knowing how, and so you get that she has a way she likes to do it, but that you really need to start learning YOUR ways for your self-esteem. If you center it on you in that way rather than making it about her control, she might be receptive?

Also, let me know about any daily life things you want instructions written out for. I grew up in much the opposite way as you have, having to fend for myself when I was really young and do all this stuff very early, so it's all pretty rote for me, especially in my advanced years! :P


Hi Heather!

I think it’s really interesting how you pointed out that I really have no control over my mom’s reactions even when it feels like I do. I never really looked at it like that, but I think you’re right.

I feel like being at college will give me enough freedom for now, but I really don’t want to move back in with my mom after I graduate, so I’ll definitely check out the safety plan you sent. I eventually do want to maintain a relationship with her, but only if she learns to back off and let me do my own thing.

I personally find that going to in-person, scheduled therapy actually increases my anxiety. I prefer to chat on forums like this or talk via text because then I don’t feel pressured to be at a certain place at a specific time.

I really appreciate all your faith in me. I have occasionally done my own cooking, but sometimes cooking kind of overwhelms me and I end up just grabbing a bowl of cereal lol. But I really like your strategy about it and I think I’ll start asking my mom if I can do more for myself. I think I just tend to get overwhelmed because I’m inexperienced.
Heather
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by Heather »

If we've been raised to believe that we're responsible for someone else's feelings, it's hard to see that. It sounds like your mother absolutely doesn't mean to do you harm, but she very clearly has her own work to do on whatever has her stuck in this emotional spot and keeps her creating her part of this dynamic, including asking you to try and manage her feelings rather than taking responsibility for them herself, and doing her best to keep them from limiting you. <3

I totally hear you with all you've said in your second paragraph, and that sounds really healthy to me. When and if that time comes, you do certainly have the right to set those kinds of limits with her, eg, "I want to have a relationship with you, but I can only keep in contact if you give me the space and independence I'm asking you for." I can also understand what you've said about therapy. I'm glad this and other things like this work for you.

Good luck with those asks. You know where to find us if/as you need any more support or help. We're rooting for you!
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
belled
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Re: Am I too obsessed with my celebrity crush?

Unread post by belled »

Heather wrote:If we've been raised to believe that we're responsible for someone else's feelings, it's hard to see that. It sounds like your mother absolutely doesn't mean to do you harm, but she very clearly has her own work to do on whatever has her stuck in this emotional spot and keeps her creating her part of this dynamic, including asking you to try and manage her feelings rather than taking responsibility for them herself, and doing her best to keep them from limiting you. <3

I totally hear you with all you've said in your second paragraph, and that sounds really healthy to me. When and if that time comes, you do certainly have the right to set those kinds of limits with her, eg, "I want to have a relationship with you, but I can only keep in contact if you give me the space and independence I'm asking you for." I can also understand what you've said about therapy. I'm glad this and other things like this work for you.

Good luck with those asks. You know where to find us if/as you need any more support or help. We're rooting for you!


Yeah, I know my mom means well, but our relationship needs some work and it’s only going to get better if I can get some distance. I’m going to start with little things like cooking and cleaning and move up from there! I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going. Thanks for all your help.
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