21 answers

Mom Makes Everything About Her

I'm 36 years old and find it almost funny that I'm struggling with the issue of my mom interfering in my life. My mom is a very sensitive person who doesn't have a very sensitive husband. I spent most of my life trying to make her happy because no one else would do it. I eventually realized that I'm not responsible for her happiness - she is.

Every Christmas since I've had children, my mom has spent the night on Christmas eve with us. Never asked us, just brings her bag. She has created her own Christmas traditions over the years, which somehow became MY traditions without me knowing it. Christmas eve we go to dinner, then go back to her house for gift exchange with my brothers and sisters. Then to my house to spend the night. In the morning my dad, brothers and sisters come over Christmas morning for breakfast. Then we all head over to my mom's for Christmas dinner. It's just exhausting.

So this year, my husband and I decided we were going to create our own traditions. I told my mom that we were doing something different this year and would not be joining them. I said they were welcome to come have breakfast with us Christmas morning after we've had a chance to have our Santa time, but we were not participating in Christmas eve festivities or Christmas day dinner. She cried. Then she called my sister and cried. Then my sister called me and blah, blah, blah.
I sat her down and explained that it wasn't anything personal, that we just wanted to create our own family traditions now that we have kids of our own. I said that we wanted Christmas eve to be more about family and less about opening gifts. (Her response was, 'I thought I was your family too.') Anyway, I stuck to my guns and told her that she wasn't going to guilt me into changing our minds. It was our family and we needed time to bond on special moments. (Her response to that was, 'You get to bond every single night.') Everything, I mean, everything is about HER.
So Christmas eve, my kids and husband and I played board games, drank hot chocolate, etc - the exact vision I had in my head of the perfect Christmas eve. At 10:30 pm my mom calls and asks if the kids were still up. I told her yes and she said, "Okay, well I'm coming over to spend the night.' I know that I should have just told her not to come, but I really HATE being the bad guy. Why does she force me to be mean to her? Why can't she just get the hint? It's not even a hint - I flat out told her what we were doing and that they were welcome to come over for breakfast.

And then for New Years day my mom told me that she wanted us over for dinner because she 'wanted to make the turkey that she didn't get to make for Christmas'. Maybe I'm reading to much into it, but it feels like she's trying to make me feel guilty. No one stopped her from making Christmas dinner - she could've had dinner without us, but she chose not to. I ruined her Christmas.

This is just one example, but every aspect of my life is like this. Another example, my mom and dad have a swimming pool at their house. My husband and I decided to put a pool in this summer at our own house. When my mom found out she says, "Well, I guess no one will be coming to our house to swim anymore." Why can't she be happy for us to be getting a pool? Why do I have to feel guilty for getting a pool for my family?

I've rambled on now, but I am just so frustrated with this issue. When she is at my house, she just takes over. it's like it's just her and my kids together - she completely pushes my husband and I out. I've got to stop this cycle now before all the memories of 'when my kids were young' are tainted with resentment towards my mom for intruding on them.

1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Boundaries are awesome and it looks like you've started to try to set some. Good for you. Now read the book Boundaries (knowing when to say no and when to say yes) by Townsend and Cloud...I just started reading this and it is an eye opener and it will help you set the right boundaries, how to set them, and why. Good Luck

3 moms found this helpful

This is exactly like my in-laws! They like staying with us and when they do, they are staying with us for months and they just take over the entire house and my kid. Me and my husband are treated like kids again and I cannot do a single thing about it although I hate it. I like them but I don't like the way they overpower us in everything. Unfortunately my husband doesn't find anything wrong with this!
I totally understand how you must be feeling but I am sorry i do not have a solution. You have got great answers though and I am hoping they might help me too. I am definitely going to read that book "Boundaries". Thanks for asking the question and thanks for all the answers!

More Answers

Boundaries are awesome and it looks like you've started to try to set some. Good for you. Now read the book Boundaries (knowing when to say no and when to say yes) by Townsend and Cloud...I just started reading this and it is an eye opener and it will help you set the right boundaries, how to set them, and why. Good Luck

3 moms found this helpful

Aw, sweetheart, so many of us have moms who are needy. They have never figured out that life changes and they would be happier if they could change with it. Your mom is trying desperately to create and control the one version of life that she thinks will keep her happiest and most comfortable.

That's not your fault, and you DO have a right to set your own course through life. It's so hard to remember that when we're getting anger, or tears, or guilt from our parent, who was under our skin and in our brains from such an early age we had no knowledge of it.

My mom's a lot like yours, but if tears don't work, she'll try anger. It used to work on me, over and over, until I just GOT it that I'm a grownup now, and I get to make my own decisions. My mom fought this for a few years, and it's been especially tricky because she lives next door. But she gradually stopped expecting to be included in those events that I wanted for myself, and things have settled into a new "normal."

One approach that has helped me tremendously in this process of change is called Non-Violent Communication (or NVC). You can google this for descriptions and examples, books and local classes if you're interested. Good stuff.

I'd just like to add, when my grandson was little, there were a couple of occasions that my daughter became upset about how I handled something that she wanted done differently. I'm a very sensitive person, and in spite of trying my best not to, I ended up crying. This upset my tender daughter – she later said that she didn't feel there was any way to offer me a critique that wouldn't upset me. I had to reassure her that I DID receive her critiques, and simply couldn't help the tears – I was genuinely sad that I had disappointed her. So keep in mind, sometime tears are just tears.

3 moms found this helpful

She might be narcissistic (www.daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com) or she might just REALLY want to be involved in your lives. Either way, you're going to have to set up some healthy boundaries. Have you considered talking to a counselor/therapist about it? A professional can give you good guidance and ideas.
MY mom can be like that to a degree. We decided to host my in laws on Christmas Eve since my mom was hosting Christmas Day. 50/50, right? Nope. She STILL tried to guilt me a little bit even though there was NO way we were getting to her house Christmas Eve and Christmas Day--she lives about an hour away! This year, I just let her comments roll off of my back. She even offered that she remembered how hard it was splitting time between her family and her in-laws, so I know she logically "gets it" but then the GRANDMA THING kicks in!

3 moms found this helpful

I'm sorry, I dont have much advice but I wanted to tell you that you're not alone. Luckily my mom lives accross the country but she is the same way. At least you have siblings - I'm my mom's only child, lol. My kids are her only grand kids and always will be. She wants to move to TX and makes comments all the time about the things she will do, how different it will be when she lives here. Before Christmas I was telling her our plans for the holidays with DH's family and how we do everything on Christmas Eve and then spend a quiet day alone at home on Christmas. We don't go anywhere and no one comes over and we love it! She says to me (in a pitiful voice) "when we live there could WE come over on Christmas??" sure mom. Whatever.

All I can tell you is to decide what is important to you and what is not. Then, for those things that are important, stick to what you want. Be gentle but firm. Point out the things you do for and with her. But tell her that these are the things that are important to you and and your husband for your kids.

Maybe pick a phrase to use with her? "I'm sorry you feel this way mom, but it's not about you." or something similar. Good luck!! I may be on here asking similar questions when my mom moves here sometime in the future!!

2 moms found this helpful

I feel your pain, my mom is so much like that, so dependent on other people making her happy and I'm an ONLY child and her guilt trips rest on me for the most part. It's a long journey but you have to stick to your guns and not let the whining about "but I'm your mother" get to you. Mine has learned that I cant and wont always be there to make her day or her holiday anymore. She wants us to come watch the superbowl at her house even though she has an old, lame television and we have a giant flatscreen. My husband will definitely not be watching the superbowl at his MIL's house. So, I'm dealing with that right now.

2 moms found this helpful

She is a narcissist and there is no known cure. You must set boundaries and live your life without worrying about her crying to others. It gets easier for you every time you stand your ground. Believe me, the people she fools or manipulate will always see through her in time, especially after she turns her focus onto them.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with Sara B. Just keep putting your foot down, don't let her play the game, if you don't need her pool anymore, OH WELL! You didn't ruin her Christmas, she did with her stinky attitude. You can love her and accept her and honor her but you don't have to let her manipulate and control you and your family. She thinks that her comments and pouting is controlling you. If she doesn't have control, then it will eventually stop... or not. ;) Hang in there!!! I think you did exactly the right thing and you stuck with your guns. You're on the right track. Hang in there!! Blessings!

2 moms found this helpful

Wow, I didn't know my husband had a sister.

I am going to tell you what I tell him, "Her behavior is HER choice. You have a right to your own life and your OWN choices. She doesn't OWN you - you are a person too."

2 moms found this helpful

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