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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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I am a 39 year old female with a mother who I feel is extremely

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I am a 39 year old female with a mother who I feel is extremely domineering and controlling and as a result my self-esteem seems to be decreasing rapidly. We have just had yet another massive argument - admittedly I am very defensive with her as she is constantly telling me what to do and walking over boundaries. But what I'd appreciate help knowing are your thoughts on this: when we had our argument and when we've had previous arguments, she ends up telling me that that I don't listen to anyone and that it's a well-known fact and everyone thinks it. She won't name names and I can only think that my younger brother might be one person (he doesn't get on well with our mother either but triangulation happens where if he and I aren't getting on, he'll go to mum; and if he and she aren't getting on, one of them will come to me etc).

I genuinely don't think anyone else would think this - about me not listening to anyone (I'm a big believer in seeing counsellors and reading expert advice, and am constantly asking others for their opinions as I second-guess myself constantly thanks to no faith in myself). However, my mum screamed it at me again tonight and I'm wondering do we have to listen to anyone? If she is right and her and some people she speaks with all think I don't listen, as a 39 year old who is reasonably intelligent and self-aware, do I have to be listening to these people? Why do I have to listen to these people - do I expect anyone to do what I say? For example, I have a very young son who I have not started in daycare yet as we have had some issues with biting - she is insisting I should start him and I am being cautious as even the daycare centres I visited said it may take time and just come together for visits to see how it goes. Why do I have to listen to her and start him? I'm his mother, I'm 39 and not stupid. But why is my personality fault, according to my mother, that I don't listen. It's doing my head in. Thank you.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this frustrating and painful situation.

Customer:

Hi and thank you for responding.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for joining the chat.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

The scenario that you describe is very concerning, since as you said, it seems that your mother does not respect you, your boundaries and individuality. You are already an adult and when no respect is present, it would be unrealistic to expect something healthy nor supportive from people, since their behaviors become abusive, and no form of abuse is acceptable.

Customer:

The situation isn't helped by me having to live with her temporarily (this will be sorted in a few weeks) - it unfortunately gives her a little more say I guess? But I still think boundaries should be respected.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said you are aware of your reality, responsibilities, consider yourself a smart person and take goo care of your life, like when it's about your little child. You have already discussed the best for him around daycare, and it seems totally reasonable the way you are taking care of this situation. Your mother could share her opinion, but she does not have the right to push you to do what she wants you to do, once you are already an adult.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Boundaries and limits must be respected without exception, and when they are not, we need to enforce them taking consistent actions in order to make it clearer to the other person that we'd not take any form of abuse, and if they happen to be unwilling to change their behavior, you would do what you need to do to take good care of yourself without exposing to it.

Customer:

Does constantly bringing her opinion up, voicing her opinion, repeating it over and over equate to "pushing"? I feel that it does and I react really badly. I wish I could react differently but after asking her to respect my opinion on that matter and pleading my case, and providing evidence from experts about young children she still goes on about what she thinks. And then, sadly I lose it and get defensive and angry :(

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

No doubt having to be there significantly makes things much more complicated, but happily you will be leaving soon, and that would be the best approach here.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, it becomes abusive behavior.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Everyone has the right to express opinions, and we all should respect and accept them, but we should never be pushed or abused because of not agreeing with them, and for sure we do not have to approve them.

Customer:

And is there some rule in life that I am not following that says that we have to do what everyone else says? She honestly tells me off for not listening to her and doing what she says and then says other people say the same thing. I get very, very defensive and then later on I think "Hang on, why do I have to do what she or anyone else says". I'm wondering if what happens is that when she says something like "I think he should go to daycare" - she believes that she is just expressing an opinion. Because I have heard it from her 100 times before and have explained how I feel, I immediately get defensive and say "I really don't want to have this discussion again". She then replies with "You don't want to listen to anyone else" .....and then the argument happens.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then it's much better to consistently keep your boundaries, and avoid arguing, since it would not lead you to anything constructive.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

No, there is not such a rule. Codependency, as addictive 0 distorted relationship patterns does promote that, but nobody should be promoting codependent patterns at all if what we want is a healthy and fulfilling life. It is useful and also necessary to listen to different opinions in order to learn, grow and develop further insight, but not to codependently allow any form of abuse or manipulation. Each person is unique and has the right to have her-his own opinions, but not to push them on other people.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

No argument could develops without two or more people playing an active role in it. Thus if you consciously and willingly choose not to engage in such dynamic, she would have no power to create a worsen situation.

Customer:

I fully admit and take responsibility for my defensiveness but the not listening to other people and being told this is a life-long issue of mine is confusing me no-end. Yes I have to learn to shut my mouth instantly and walk away when my boundaries are crossed - but it's like a hot-button at the moment.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You said you use to consult with experts around serious decisions and that is very assertive, then you already have sound feedback and guidance, what shows you are not neglecting things nor close to listen and learn, but that is very different to become a blind follower of what other people want you to think , feel or do.

Customer:

I know, this is why I can't understand why she says I don't listen to people and other people think that - I'm sure it's just her and my brother. And they know I can be easily guilted and provoked, I'm sure.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You bet it is. This could show how these behaviors from your mother trigger this confidence - self-control issues you have, then it is necessary for you to work on improving your sense of self-worthiness, confidence, coping and assertiveness, which are areas we all need to work on a regular basis.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You are an adult then have multiple social relationships, with friends, neighbors, coworkers, other relative, and from all of those relationships you get a more realistic and accurate idea of how open or close you are. If you happen to have a core issue around this area, for sure you would have multiple problems with several people - relationships.

Customer:

Well I have been having multiple issues and this was concerning me greatly - I thought "I am the common denominator here". But when I looked at each situation, it was a very different issue - although my lack of self-esteem at the moment certainly isn't helping. But I know in my heart, none of the other issues are to do with "not listening". But my mother tries to make me think that the other issues are the same as the issues she and I are having ....when I could think straighter I did point out to her that they were not similar at all.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, then it seems necessary to assertively set boundaries and work on improving your self-esteem and coping skills in order to better handle this type of situations

Customer:

Yes I agree, I think I need to put in a lot of hard work and daily habits to try and improve coping skills and self-esteem as quickly as I can. Is it normal to get really really angry when someone walks over boundaries and tries to make us think that we are at fault and is really controlling....because it makes me so angry and upset? I don't know how I am meant to stay calm in the face of that.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

it is for sure a challenging and very unpleasant experience, but whenever anger gets out of control, triggered by an incident, it could show we have unresolved issues we need to work on, otherwise they would be triggered by any new situation that could be associated with them. that's why we use to overreact, it is not only about the present challenge - pushing, but about the feelings it triggers from past situations where we felt abused, hurt or disrespected.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

This is why psychotherapy is about working on those experiences and the impact they had in order to heal and grow from them instead of getting limited and undermined by them. Chronic abuse or neglect could literally undermine our sense of self-worthiness, and that is one core reason why many times people feel down and overreact too.

Customer:

Yes there are definitely unresolved and very, very frustrating issues. Plus the self-esteem issue - when you feel your self-esteem plummeting even further it is very upsetting. The anger is like a surge to try and hold on to one's self-esteem and pride.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, and that's when counseling and psychotherapy appear as unique and necessary sources of support. We cannot change how people think, feel and do things, even when they are abusive, but we can, need and should be able to control ourselves in order to take good care of our lives, heath and relationships.

Customer:

Yes, ok, so I need to just focus on controlling myself (oh and not letting others try and control me). Thank you. I really appreciate the advice and conversation. It has given me clarity and something to focus on.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. I support you.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Take gentle care and consistent action in your personal work.

Customer:

Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX appreciated and I will.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thanks!

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist
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MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach