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Dr. Steve
Dr. Steve, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  19 years conducting therapy; book author; newspaper columnist; former co-host of radio show
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I am a 30 year old mom, and married to a man I truely love,

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hi i am a 30 year old mom, and married to a man I truely love, but Iam not happy. I try to make everyone happy. I feel like my mother interfairs in my life too much and still tries to control me. So much soo that she acts like my children are hers. It is putting strain on my marriage because my husand and her do not like each other because of how she is. I feel like I'm caught in between my family and the man I love. I dont know what to do. How do I fix this?


Great question, but I am sorry you find yourself in this awful situation. And actually, my answer may not be what you want to hear, but here goes anyway: When growing up with a mother like yours, a daughter learns early on to make mom happy "or else." I am guessing that mom wore away your self esteem long before you can even remember because that was a convenient way to control you. Over the years, this relationship generalized for you, such that you would now use that same coping mechanism (i.e., making other people happy to avoid some unpleasant something that you probably couldn't even identify, but felt nonetheless) with all relationships, from casual (friends/acquaintances) to intimate (husband). And while it makes you feel good to take care of others, it also wears you out and at times makes you angry.

And here's the deal: because mom may be very skilled at making things always seem to be your fault, she probably reinforces the notion that if you ever try to get strong or make steps to hold up better boundaries, a crisis will ensue and will get folded back onto you.

So back to your question: My advice would be to seek a talk therapist who can talk you through some of the boundaries that you do not feel strong enough to create or to reinforce, and then coach you on how to begin the process of setting and keeping to them. It will not be a quick fix, as you will wax and wane as to how able you feel to make the necessary changes, but the therapist will offer you support and encouragement, while all the time monitoring your stress and frustration level.

I do wish you well. Mother and daughters have a special bond, and when it goes awry, it takes a fair amount of effort and preserverence to change. If you are satisfied with the response, please hit "accept." That is the only way I can receive credit for my answers. Thanks-

Dr. Steve

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Because I am so angry inside about this, I find myself yelling and being mean to my oldest daughter over the littleset things. My concern is what harm am I potentially doing to her? And is it too late for me to change any potential emotional damage I've done to her? I do not want her to feel this way and treat her children one day like this.

thank you very much for your advise.

Hello again:

It is true that having an angry parent can erode the self esteem of daughters - but here is the good news; Kids are amazingly resilient and thirsty for your affection and affirmation. If you can take steps to calm yourself down and make changes in your life to lower the rage you are carrying inside, you can absolutely repair the relationship with your girl and help her to not make the same mis-steps in her life that you may have taken in yours. and think about this: You are recreating your same childhood in her (i.e., if she has an angry mom a lot, she will try to make you happy all the time)... so help yourself and help your daughter!

Best regards, ***** ***** wishes:

Dr. Steve

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