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I’m an only child and my parents live overseas. I’m married…

I’m an only child and...
I’m an only child and my parents live overseas. I’m married with a beautiful daughter who just turned one. Every time my mother comes to visit me, she stays with us for a few weeks. A few days before her flight here, she always seems to undergo a lot of emotional and mental stress. She starts to get annoying which then results in an argument. Then she asks, “Do you really want me to be there?”, or “Are we pushing through with our flight?” - something to that sense. It’s almost as if she wants me to beg for her to come visit me.Then when she is here, she goes through another round of anxiety at least for a week or so. She stresses out about the new environment, starts putting rosaries on window sills, etc. Then something happens again which leads to another argument which then leads to her balling her eyes out saying, “You don’t want me here!”, “You don’t want your dad and I to be here!!”, etc.This morning, she started crying in front of my husband. The argument started because at 4AM, she saw there was urine on the toilet lid and angrily told my dad. We live in an apartment. My father and her sleep upstairs next to the baby’s room, and my husband and I downstairs. Our apartment echos and we hear EVERYTHING upstairs. So I went up to tell her she was being loud and I was also worried she’d wake the baby up. My tone probably slightly sounded like I was annoyed. But I’ve snapped at her many times because she never listens. There are times when she just doesn’t get it, but there are also times when she refuses to do things she’s told. I tell her nicely then she slightly nods while staring blankly at nothing, looking extremely depressed. Sometimes, there’s also just no feedback from her like she refuses to listen. So I tell her again, and then she gets annoyed. It feels like she hesitates to listen or feels insluted that she has to be told to do things by her own daughter. So instead of her accepting (I don’t even care for an apology because I have low expectations of her) and making sure she isn’t loud the next time, she got mad. She then started saying the same things she normally says, “You don’t want us here!”, etc. But I snapped when she said, “You’re just using us!” because I am not. They never really even babysat. If anything, they give me more work because I have to clean up after their mess, drive them around, or get them an Uber which I pay for myself. But I’m not complaining. I just don’t want to be accused of using people.I am sick of this. I am sick of hearing her like this. I am sick of hearing her say “you don’t want us here” because it’s supposed to not be taken personally. It could’ve been anyone who was loud and I still would’ve told that person off. It is not about her. It is about her being loud and taking things personally.Maybe I have a lot of resentment too in the past because she was would beat me up as a kid. She beat me up with her belt buckly until my knees bled, drag me with my hair which resulted in multiple bumps in my head, force me to eat hot chilli pepper that my lips would grow swollen, etc. Many times, the pepper would get smear on my face and eyes that my eyes would get swollen too. I recall I was an honor student in first grade, but she spanked me with her high heels all because I didn’t want her to curl my hair. So being an honor student didn’t matter. I can still see photos of me graduating with really swollen eyes from crying. When I was about 10 years old, I wanted to die and took a large amount of pills because she kept beating me up and scolding me for trivial reasons.But that said, I feel like I’ve moved on. I have a great job, married to a nice man, and have a beautiful daughter. I landed a job overseas and I feel like fate brought me here. It took me far away from her.Before I left overseas, I had a cousin that lived with us. My cousin was very affectionate towards my mother so naturally, my mother fell in love with her. But what I hated was she would always compare me to her. Don’t get me wrong, but my cousin and I got a long very well even though we were different from each other. We had the same sense of humor and she looked up to me. But I feel like I had to walk on eggshells when she was around because I could say something and my mother would get offended for her. For example, I once said to my cousin, “Whoa! Your shoes are super red!” This didn’t mean anything at all and my cousin was nonchalant about it. But this riled my mother up to the point of her saying I am jealous of my cousin because she was prettier than me. What??? That couldn’t be farther from the truth! At some point, my cousin even questioned why it seemed like my mother threw tantrums all the time.
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I’m really, really sick to my stomach of her drama. She always intentionally pushes my buttons, but when I get mad, she spins it around and makes me look like the bad guy. She starts crying and telling me how unkind I am and that I should be more respectful towards my elders. Her expectation of me is to have endless patience towards her no matter how hard she pushes my buttons.She also keeps saying that “I have changed ever since I married my husband.” I don’t know if she had forgotten how often we’ve fought or she is trying to stir the pot again. She also is very good at pushing my buttons and when I respond, her typical answer is, “I don’t know.” or “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” She intentionally makes me angry and shuts me down immediately when she gets a reaction.I also hate how she wakes people up to nag at 2/3/4 in the morning. She has always been this way. I think she believes that the more annoying she is (because who likes to be woken up in the middle of the night!), the more you will listen to her. In my college years, she threw a remote control on my head in the middle of the night because she hated the guy I was dating. I pretended to be asleep, but she kept throwing the remote at me to get me to wake up.I’ve tried to make things work, but she is extremely difficult. I don’t even know how my dad puts up with her. She complains how my dad cusses at her, but I can understand how she brings out the worst in people. So when I don’t respond to her complaints, she yells at me and says, “you always take your dad’s side!"Wherever she goes, she always brings drama with her. She always blames everyone but herself. If she asks for advice and things don’t work out the way she’d hoped, you can be sure as hell that she will come back to blame you for it. I used to feel sorry for her, but now that I have a daughter, I just want to protect her from my mother being toxic.And another thing - I’m Asian married to a Caucasian man. Being Asian, we’re used to having our parents live with us. But she is prejudice against white people thinking they hate living with extended family so she always thinks that my husband doesn’t want her here when the fact of the matter is, I’m the one who doesn’t. My husband doesn’t really care.I don’t know what to do with her. I really don’t.
Answered in 1 hour by:
1/16/2018
John-Michaels
John-Michaels, Counselor (LPC)
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 976
Experience: 25+ years helping people find solutions...
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Hello, my name is John. Please give me a moment as I look over your question.
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I am so sorry you are in this predicament. The fact is your mother is the way she is and you are likely never goi go to change her. You have about three options:1. You break all ties with her. Just don’t allow her to visit anymore.
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I’m only seeing one option?I’d also like to know if you think there’s an underlying issue as to why she is like this?
I say that tongue in cheek. We all need our family, even as adults.
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2. You put your foot down and demand her respect. Tell her you are sick of it and will not allow it anymore.
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3. You blow out the flames with love and kindness. The fact is your mom is the way she is. I don’t mean to be negative, but she probably isn’t going to change too easily. Your best bet is to remain calm and ding let it get to you. Also, go out of your way to show her respect.
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I’m guessing she feels threatened by you. She feels like you do not respect her. You have moved on with life without her. Don’t try to change her. Just accept her.I know that is asking much, but fighting her has gotten you nowhere. Don’t fight her any more. Love her.
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Did that make sense to you? As I said, I know it is difficult, but I am pretty sure the only way to change her is change your self.By the way, I am not blaming you at all. I just think the solution lies in you.
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I want to know if there’s an underlying issue. I have a daughter and I’ve tried to understand her, but it’s putting me in a lot of stress. I don’t want this toxicity in this family and I don’t want to expose my daughter to that. I grew up with parents screaming at each other. I do not want that for my daughter. As long as she is exists, there will be screaming and negativity.Is there an underlying issue? It makes me think she has mental issues. That is what I want to know. From what I’ve researched, it seems to be Borderline Personality Disorder, but I don’t know for sure. It will help me understand her better if I try to get to the bottom of this.
Honestly, I think you hit the nail on the head. She is all about herself. She is what we often call a drama queen. That said, option two above is the better response. Or a combination of 2 and 3. Tell her you are not going to allow this behavior around your family and don’t.
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Does that make better sense to you?
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Customer reply replied 7 months ago
it does. But I was really expecting a more medical answer.
I don’t necessarily believe there is a medical reason for it. Borderline Perspnality can be the result of genetics or environment. I lean toward environment. She acts this way because it works for her. It has worked for her all her life. She either was spoiled as a child or the opppsite. Either way, when she pitched a fit, she got the attention she desired. As long as she is getting her way she is fine. You cross her, she throws a tantrum.
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TherapistJen
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3,928
Experience: Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
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Hi. It sounds like you have had a tumultuous childhood and suffered a lot of abuse at the hands of your mother. That leaves tremendous wounds and scars and you have done so well to be strong, even allowing her in your life now with your family. While it is hard to diagnose another individual we can say that there may be some underlying mental health issues...she may suffer from depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder. The violent outbursts and the manipulation are components of this. Personality disorders are very difficult to treat as the individual needs to be open and willing to look at their stuff and I don't hear that your Mom would be open to it. When dealing with someone that may have a personality disorder, it is crucial for you to set and maintain strong boundaries....to keep yourself safe from further emotional harm. When she is in a tirade and tries to lash out at you...you simply say, I will not engage with you at this time, but am happy to talk to you when you feel calmer. Then leave the room and take some time to yourself. There is also a wonderful book for you to read that helps you to deal with this kind of person. It is called Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder. This book can help you understand it all a bit better and help you cope when she lands in your world.

Please let me know any further thoughts of yours.

Jen

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I am here if you want to talk further.

Jen

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
My mother also keeps saying that "I have changed since I have been married to my husband." This isn't at all true. We have always been incompatible because she always wants to be in control. Now she blames my husband for a lot of things saying that he is controlling me. The only "fault" my husband has, in my mother's eyes, is the fact that he is white.
As best you can I would not even attend to anything that she has to say as she is cutting you down. That is part of her behavior and it is your choice not to let it affect you or to engage with it at all. It's almost as if you need to adopt an attitude of who cares what she says because it cannot penetrate how I feel about myself or my family.
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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thanks for your reply. As mentioned, she is visiting us and living at our house. I find it hard for her to follow basic house rules. For example, when we tell her not to slam the doors, she repeatedly does them until I eventually lose patience and snap at her. I don't know if she fails to listen because she just doesn't get it or there's some sort of power struggle (ie she just doesn't want to be told by her daughter)?There were times when I told her and she would reply angrily saying, "I don't have freedom in this house!" It's not a "freedom" thing. No one is depriving her of anything, but if there are other people living in a house, everyone has to compromise.

A power struggle for sure. Keep in mind that her time with you is limited so as best you can decide which battles you want to get into. My suggestion is to disengage from all of it, and bide your time until she is on her way back home.

She ignores your rules because she knows you engage...ignore it all.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Thank you. One more thing, I know you have mentioned that I ignore it all. But the issue is, when she slams doors, for example, it'll wake the baby up. If the baby awakens, I take the brunt of it all. I juggle a full-time job at home and the nanny isn't here all day so I have to make the most of the time when the baby is asleep. The more I ignore it, the more times the baby will wake up, and the more work I couldn't get done.

I truly understand all of that..it is a real concern but she enjoys the engagement so it is possible that if you ignore it and she sees it doesn't get at you, that it just may stop.

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When does she leave?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
She leaves in a few days. It's been a looong week. She hasn't spoken to me and I don't want to speak to her either. As bad as this sounds, I really want her out. My husband and I very rarely argue and we never yell at each other. This house is pretty harmonious and peaceful... until she visits.

This is perfect...a few more days and you are free. Just get through these days and don't engage at all. You are in the home stretch so be proud you made it.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Do you advice that I start speaking to her? I mean, just act civil around her? As she may enjoy this drama and the passive-aggressiveness. Like she would look at me and raise her eyebrows and look at me from head to foot. Geez, I feel like I'm in high school.

Yes I would speak to her as if all things are good...calm yourself before doing so and just lead with kindness...it's not for her but for you..then you know you acted with grace and dignity no matter how she behaves. you can do this!

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Please take a moment to click the rating faces to rate my support. As you know, you are not charged again for doing so but without it I will not receive credit for my support. Thanks so much for understanding.

Jen

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I would appreciate it if you could take a moment now to offer the rating. I spent a good amount of time with you and as you know I do not receive credit for that support without your rating. Thanks so much.
TherapistJen
TherapistJen, LCSW, CPC
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Satisfied Customers: 3,928
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