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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5821
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I am a 41 year old happily married woman with one child. I

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I am a 41 year old happily married woman with one child. I am an only child of divorced parents. I live close to my mother and love her very much. We recently had a heated disagreement, at my home and i asked her to leave before it got any worse and more hurtful things were said. I believed it would be over when it calmed down, but she told my husband that she would no longer have anything to do with me until i apoligized because i was rude to her. Well, I probably was it was an argument. I feel and have for years held hostage by my love for her. This is the drama that she continously insists on carriying on. In my little 3 person family we don't work that way we argue cool it and go on with our lives because I believe its wrong to use someones love for you to force obedience. I love her and she is all alone. When it comes down to it I am all she has. It gives me nitemares that she will die in her bed and no one will find her,i can't just not talk to her?????help!!!!!

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds as if you and your mother were both hurt by this argument. She is using her hurt as a way to control the situation and make you apologize so she will feel better. Although it would be ideal for you both to make amends together, she may not be willing to do so.

You have a few choices here. You can ignore her and move on. From what you said, this option doesn't sound like a workable one for you. It is also not the best idea if you care for your mother. However, it is an option.

Second, you can let her know you are willing to apologize but she needs to as well. Let her know you were hurt by the argument too, and that you feel both of you were at fault. She may not agree and continue with how she is acting, or she may give in. In that case, you both should meet on neutral ground, say for lunch, and talk it out. This way, it will be more difficult to argue again since you will be in a public place and also a neutral place, where neither of you have the advantage.

Third option is to apologize to her. Yes, it feels like acknowledging she is right and it is humbling to do so, but it may be necessary if you would like to continue to maintain your relationship with her. Sometimes you have to be the better person and give a small token for the benefit of the bigger picture. This way, she gets what she wants and you get your relationship back.

I hope this has helped you,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
This is such a difficult situation. I will be the only person available to take care of my mother as she ages. Let me help you understand. I live in the deep south. I feel a very strong urge to care for my mom even if we have had a very tumultuous relationship all my life. (I feel strongly that she has always been jealous and a little resentful of me, most of my life.)I was a burden, or drew attention from her, so I have always made it a point even as a little girl to make sure she "felt Important". Now I am tired of groveling. It has worn on my self-esteem to the point that at 41 I feel ugly, sad, unworthy, anxious and depressed, for which I take medication, and am on a journey to try and rebuild my self-esteem. I feel like "begging" her forgiveness AGAIN deminishes my worth and that she holds me hostage with my love for her. Not to mention that she ALWAYS tries to undermine my happiness by sneaking around and talking bad about me to my friends and even to my HUSBAND behind my back. Next thing I know it will be my son, who will soon be 17. I simply so do not want my son involved in this CRAP, and it is really getting under my skin that she is undermining my marriage and friendships. I've pretty much had it with the drama. But my son loves her so, and so do I really, oh God this is such a conundrum I can't stop my mind, it upsets me to no end. She is so depressed she just stays isolated and in the bed, she has such good relationships with others what is it with me? and when will she ever show me any respect? How can I get her to see? How can I maintain my self-respect and apologize again?

Ok, that is important information to know. It changes the answer I would give.

It definitely sounds like your mother uses manipulation and control to have her way. I understand your need to care for your mother. However, it is more about guilt than obligation. You are not obligated to care for someone if they have treated you like your mother has treated you.

You mentioned you are on medication. Have you tried therapy for this as well? It would be very beneficial for you to have someone to talk to about how you feel, especially in your effort to rebuild your self esteem. You can talk to your doctor about a referral or try your pastor if you attend church.

You can control your contact with your mother. If she wants to see your son, then she will have to be civil to you. You are not obligated to treat her as if you are making her more important than you. You are an adult now too, so you and your family also should be respected. She is not doing this, and that results in how you feel.

It is not disrespectful to expect to be treated civilly. There is no where that says you need to accept being abused, even in the Bible. You can love your mother, but not accept her behavior. Keep your distance. Help her if she asks, but do not give her more than that. Keep your conversation to a minimum and do not let yourself be provoked into arguments or responding to comments meant to hurt.

Your mother is an adult, but she is not acting like one. Yet she demands respect. This is an impossible situation for anyone. You can only do what you feel you can handle. Any more than this, and you will pay with your self esteem and distress.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Thank you! That helps so much! Yes I have recieved therapy. A lot of therapy. They all tell me not to let her use me as a conveinience(?)in her life and a de-stressing agent, yet I will think she has grown up and changed and fall right back into the same thing, always with this same result. If you can understand what I just said??

I wish I could save this answer and go back to it so that when I forget I can remind myself how you worded it. It seems I have a hard time remembering and I tend to like running into that same brick wall over and over. I should learn that it is not going to move before I crack my skull.

Again thank you. That is exactly what I needed to know.


You are so welcome! I am glad the answer helped. Your therapists were exactly on target. However, it is very easy to get pulled back in to what your mother is doing. We all want to be loved, especially by our mothers, with that perfect love that makes it all better. That is what makes it so attractive each time she backs down a little and you try again.

Just keep reminding yourself of what the therapists told you. I think you can also copy our conversation onto Microsoft Word or a similar program on your computer and print it out. Maybe JA moderators can tell you how to do it. I'm sure they'd be willing to help you.

Take care,