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It is the hardest to deal with the behavior(s) of our family members (parents in particular). There is always going to be the issue of "parent vs offspring" even when the "child" is all grown up with a life of their own.
What makes the situation more difficult is when the parent does not want to change or acknowledge your feelings, accomplishments, desires etc.
One way to look at this is to let yourself remember that you're worthy (even if one person in the world- her, does not give you the positive feedback)
You know who you are (and you have learned how not to behave that may be hurtful to others) In a way, her behavior had made you a better person. She may never change. That is free will.
you are in a difficult situation being in the middle of this. The upsetting part is that your dad is also enduring this kind of treatment. Unfortunately, I have encountered other similar situations where the person who controls the rest of the family for one or another reason continues to do this over and over and over. What makes it worse is that you are observing how your dad is being treated. On the other hand, your dad has made some choices along his own partnership with your mom and for whatever reason suffers in silence. Some people are no confrontational or angry and do not express their feelings. I think that even if he does, the fact that this has been going on for so long is an indicator of how she is and what she does. I am not sure that she would be willing to change. Those who control others are most content when in control and do not want to give that up. Some things you can do is still confront her and be supportive to your dad and have realistic expectations of her. If someone had acted like this for such a long time, as they say, what predicts future behavior is past behavior. Perhaps see what your dad has to say about this and how is he able to tolerate it and still be kind to her. I think it is between the two of them and what he and she want to do. Sometimes even not doing anything about a situation is still a personal choice.
I'm concerned that she may need mental help. If she repected anyone in her life maybe I could get her to listen, if not agree, to the fact that other people's wishes are valid. Especially the wishes of her family. Even if she'd listen it would be progress. Even if she didn't agree. If we try to talk to her we are 'ganging up on her' or 'I'm just like my father' but I never see him asking anything outrageous of her. She watches church on TV, so there is no pastor to talk to. She is just as controlling to her siblings when she is around them for any extended time. My very kind and gentle aunt was furious with her the last time they stayed in the same house for a week together. She ordered everyone around and got on everyones nerves. They won't dare tell her, oh no. She doesn't have friends.
No one she chats with, shares secrets, plans outings. She is resentful of my close friends. Doesn't see why I need to have close, emotionally intimate relationships with my longtime girlfriends. She is vocal about that, and verbally distainful. She would cut them out of my life--if she thought she could somehow. She has even questioned my father about where I've met certain friends of mine, almost as if to say why has she gotten so close to them? She has been this way all of my life only it's gotten worse lately. Is this normal behavior? No one is up to her standards, and she's constantly logging the reasons that everyone she encounters is not up to par. I know I'm not up to par-for whatever reason, given what day it is-and I'm no longer trying to get her approval.
I just want some suggestions on how to manage with her. Is there any book you can think of for dealing with someone like this. i'd like to slip my father a copy too, trust me.
What could help is family counseling (but she has to be open to this)
As far as what may be helpful to you in your dealings with her is to remind yourself that this could be all she could be willing and able to do at this stage in her moral, spiritual and emotional life (meaning you may hope for one outcome while she can not deliver this)
In regard to bibliotherapy and books (I've listed some below) but the books of choice would always have to resonate with the reader's belief system (hence mine are only suggestions)
Boundaries in Marriage by Henry Cloud and John Townsend
When Difficult Relatives Happen to Good People: Surviving Your Family and Keeping Your Sanity by Leonard Felder Ph.D.
Did I miss to answer your question? I noticed that you did not accept. If there is something else I could have provided you with please let me know. I answered all of your posts to the best of my ability. Thank you.
You provided good answers. My best friend unexpectedly had to put her pet to sleep so I went to her immediately. I was still waiting for your answer when she called. She's had to deal with a lot of death in a short space of time. You can see from my past answers I always respond, and pay. I would choose to use you again, I think you did a good job. Unfortunately I don't have a lap top so I can't continue if I have to leave the house. Thank you for taking the time to suggest books, that was very kind of you. (and I plan on making a trip to borders later today)