Hello & Welcome to Just Answers.
This is an incredibly frustrating problem to deal with. It's a push pull manipulation---come close-go away. Hostage taking with no ransom demand. It exhausts people and it seems that the only way to get around the manipulation is to not care about anything, have no opinion and not to attach to anything so that they can't 'catch ' you at it and then drive you bananas with a session of soul-sucking, exhausting, combative emotional bashing----all the while acting like they're simply asking a simple question and don't understand your emotional over-reaction.
It's a very cruel form of emotional abuse, and it's all about control. By doing this...they get you to keep your thoughts on them and adapting your world around them by trying to walk on eggshells in all that you say and do....even when you're not near them, you still have to keep them at the center of your thoughts lest you endure a 'session' later. Complete control of your thought process is the goal, but that is never acknowledged. If confronted, it will be denied and then you would be attacked for having an opinion they didn't approve of.
Some folks do this under the guise of 'nice', 'gifting', 'volunteering' 'helpful', 'curious', 'wanting the best for you', and some just go straight to the bullying
without the sugar coating. It's all about control and power.
To save yourself, you have to get out from under the verbal vomit that you get covered up in and get some information. Information is power. Learning that 'No.' is a complete sentence. Remembering that adults don't answer up to adults. Remembering that unsolicited attention, help, curiosity or advice can be refused. Google controlling personalities and co-dependency and you'll start to learn how it works. The book Emotional Vampires is another good place to find information.
You can thwart the effect this has on you and get out from under the spell just through education and an attitude change on your part. You'd be amazed at how the power floats away when you don't defend yourself or answer up to them.
You're not insane...this is a very common form of emotional abuse and it's effects are devastating...you can see what his mother did
to him.....you don't want your kids being like that. Let the buck stop at your feet.
My best to you.
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