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Chiaroscuro

RANT Mum wants to help, but sometimes makes it worse

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Rant warning sorry.

My mum has been very supportive over the years (and still is) but there are times in my life when I know she's trying to help, & that she wants to help, but she just makes it harder.

 

Over time, I have put on a lot of weight. This has resulted in me becoming unhappy with how I look and doing my best (but not yet succeeding) to loose weight (for myself, for my hubby and for my son).

 

My mum is very fit and into exercise and eating right, she is also rather forthright and pushy.

 

So, the short of it is that once again we're going through a cycle of her commenting on things in my life and it hitting a nerve with me.

 

She comments on my weight and how I need to eat right and exercise for my  family, how I need to keep my house clean and organised etc and how I need to work on all of this so that I can get better and become more stable mentally, and then get a job and support my family & supplement my husbands income.

 

Now, she does help us immensely, she pays for my personal training sessions once a week and we rent her house off of her at a low weekly rate. All of these things and more I am so very grateful to her for, I really am, and I thank her often for her help.

 

However, when I get to this point/cycle of her comments wounding me, it's really bloody hard to explain to her that whilst from her perspective I'm not doing enough to help myself or my weight or the house, or looking for work, and how in her eyes it all seems easy to sort out, that for me it's not.

 

I'm seeing a new Shrink, I've only had the first meeting with her, so tbh, I'm not sure if it'll work out or not, for various reasons. I see her again in a month, so will have a better idea after that meeting.

 

What I would like to find is a Shrink who is able to see that I could really benefit from some intensive psychotherapy which due to my location and family life is best able to be achieved by short stays in a private psychiatric facility on a regular basis. As I feel that I would really begin to gain and re-gain the life skills I so desperately need to help me.

 

It is all of the above that I find hard to communicate to my mother. I know that on some level she almost sorta grasps it, but not quite.

 

So until I can achieve my treatment goals, I'm bumbling along as best I can. I just wish I could get my mother to see it that way.

 

My husband is very supportive and understands what I need and how I'm holding on, which is good. It's just a pity he works 60 or so hours a week at 2 jobs.

 

I feel like a failure *sigh*

 

/rant

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Your not a failure......your mom is trying to help, but she's setting the standard too high for you and it might be time to just tell her that. What is good for her, doesn't have to be good for you and maybe it's time to just come right out and say that to her. Sometimes saying things nicely to someone isn't always the way to go. I understand now wanting to step on toes. I live in my Aunt's rental and she says a lot of the same things to me and well, I just had to tell her forth right, just because I do things differently and slower than you doesn't mean I'm wrong it just means I'm me and I'm different and that's okay. 

 

It's hard not to let the people who are "helping" us control us at the same time. It's a fine line and many cross that line, most without thinking. It's up to us to make sure we put them back over that line. I have to do it regularly and I know it causes a bit of a rift......but I am paying my bills and doing what's best for me and my family. I won't let someone who is helping me destabilize me. 

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A help or a hindrance.  So many of us live so close to the edge and on such a narrow margin, that we simply can't afford the baggage of another person's shit.  You may need to consider stopping taking her well meaning "gifts" as it would also alleviate you from the onus of having to bear her "helpfulness".  It sounds cold and brutal (and maybe it is) but often it comes down to tallying up other people's drag on you and cutting them loose not because they are evil, but simply because they are just too much of a burden to bear.  

 

Or maybe, you need to be extraordinarily forthright and enforce a strict policy of letting her know when she is handing you her shit and being vocal about refusing to take it.  You weren't raised that way, your mother maybe well meaning, you may not want to hurt her feelings, you may feel beholden to her for the "things" she gives you, but using those tactics to control another is the way you treat children.  Its not going to stop until you make a change and enforce it.

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Your not a failure......your mom is trying to help, but she's setting the standard too high for you and it might be time to just tell her that. What is good for her, doesn't have to be good for you and maybe it's time to just come right out and say that to her... I just had to tell her forth right, just because I do things differently and slower than you doesn't mean I'm wrong it just means I'm me and I'm different and that's okay. 

 

It's hard not to let the people who are "helping" us control us at the same time. It's a fine line and many cross that line, most without thinking. It's up to us to make sure we put them back over that line. I have to do it regularly and I know it causes a bit of a rift......but I am paying my bills and doing what's best for me and my family. I won't let someone who is helping me destabilize me. 

 Thanks Becks :) , yeah I agree with you that I need to reinforce my boundaries and state that right now, her standards of "what I should be doing" are too damn high & unrealistic.

 

 

 

Or maybe, you need to be extraordinarily forthright and enforce a strict policy of letting her know when she is handing you her shit and being vocal about refusing to take it.  You weren't raised that way, your mother maybe well meaning, you may not want to hurt her feelings, you may feel beholden to her for the "things" she gives you, but using those tactics to control another is the way you treat children.  Its not going to stop until you make a change and enforce it.

You're right, Eldorado, I agree, she has on a few occasions said that she'll finance something for me if I do certain things ( like keep house clean, exercise etc) which is exactly how you would treat a child.

 

I'm lucky right now as I've been on a weeks holiday and now she's on a weeks holiday, so I've had a bit of a break in being contacted by her & seeing her. However, when she gets back early next week it will all start again, and when it does, I will firmly "draw a few lines in the sand" and tell her what I know/feel I am capable of etc, as it's getting to the point where if I don't say something again (I've had to do this before for all the same reasons) it will become damaging to our relationship (not to the point that she'd kick us out of her house or anything, but just more arguments ect) and I don't need the stress of that on top of everything else going on inside my head.

 

Thankyou so much for your insights and replies :)

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I understand. Sometimes I think Mum's (or Dad's in some cases) think that all we really need is a push in the right direction in order for everything to fall into place and work out the way they think it should.

I also don't work (for me partly due to ill heath I cannot seem to get under control and a whole lot of due to the anxiety and panic I suffer from) and my Mum, while great, doesn't understand at all. She's always suggesting to me to go and do a course or telling me how I can't just hang around the house forever (which generally makes me feel even more useless than I already do most of the time), telling me what jobs she thinks will suit me etc etc. I guess their hearts are in the right place but it comes from a place of not understanding.

I don't really have any tips, I hide a little of what goes on with me from my Mum because I feel uncomfortable giving her all the gory details (likely because as much as she tries, she just doesn't always get it) but have found the best way is just to say "I can't" and stand firm with it. If she pushes, I take some space and talk to her again when I've calmed down.

Good luck, I hope you work something out.

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thanks Jessamine, I hope that I can find a middle ground with my mum that isn't so draining!! I hope you can too :)

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Hi, you have just described my Christmas visit home, i have gained weight as well and have had all family members comment on it as if i just sit and eat cakes all day, i have also been told i should clean my home more, correction that i should do all the cleaning and let the OH do nothing, i also need to find a job.

 

I really don't think they GET how hard just existing is for me, in the past they have not been understanding of my mental health problems, but now think that it is simple to fix, so im no better off really.

 

Could you talk to your mum?, explain that you understand she is concerned for you and that you are trying to do your best?.Mine is very pushy also, she wants the best for me, but it isn't always possible and it makes me feel like a failure.

Edited by neptunesky

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