Having trouble not letting Mom affect my life.

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She doesn't live with me. In fact, I live an hour and a half away. I used to feel I had to do what she said for many years. Last three or four years trying to separate from her. But she still has too much affect on my emotions. This is silly. I am supposed to go out to dinner with my brother-in-law and nephew tonight. Mom is not answering her phone right now. Long story. She calls every few days. I think she is going to call today. Bit unsettled waiting to see and hoping she calls before we leave. She will leave a message on the voice mail that she will call later if we aren't here. Of course, there will probably be two messages. Because she doesn't wait too long to try again. I don't want to be waiting and wondering what she is going to say, is there a new problem maybe? Been working on distancing myself emotionally for three or four years. Still having trouble.



I didn't see what your mom's diagnosis is. Is she competent? Does she suffer from dementia? Is she at home or in a facility? All of these things factor into figuring out how to deal with a demanding person, to me.
Hope you're doing well. I tend worry as well. I think because I know my mother really has no one in the world but me, so I get trapped into making her state of mind my job. This is a bad habit, probably something I started in childhood - no one's state of mind is my responsibility except mine. And I don't want to feel anxious, so I am making changes. Instead, I focus on having a positive affect on her. I have changed how I react to manipulative behaviors, I identify them and avoid them - I don't react, respond or participate in them. In this case, you call, she doesn't answer. Maybe leave a message that you called, you're going out for the evening, but will talk another time - love you - hang up. Then forget about it, and go about your life. Start breaking this cycle. You know she's ok - you have a separate life and so does she. Respect her decision not to answer your call - don't judge it. Allow her to make her own choices as well as any consequenses they bring. It's her life - and you have yours. I make all my conversations light and positive. It is an emotional ride, I realize our relationship has shifted where I have more power as she ages - but I don't hold that over her - I am here if she needs something important - I plan my time I can give her for mother/daughter or family time, take her to needed appointments and the rest is her life to plan. That works for me. I'm encouraging her to build a strong social life so she has friends to focus her energy on, rather than me being her whole life. I do what I need and want and if she has a strong opinion, I stop talking about that part of my life with her. My mom is an important part of my life and I have worked hard to draw new boundaries so that my time with her is enjoyable and not miserable. It's a process, but I hope you can find your balance. hugs!
Get some counseling. Your behavior indicates high stress. And, of course, the big question is why.

Another big question is why you don't just call her???
If you call your mother will she answer? My mother wouldn't answer her phone for years, just listened and let it go to voicemail. She'd had increasing dementia for very many years unbeknown to anyone as she was a narcissist and first rate actress until her last couple of years when she could no longer hold it together. I can only imagine, in her addled mind, she thought if she didn't answer people would come running and she'd get immediate undivided attention. Of course it didn't work that way and people just gave up calling. She passed away friendless and alone.
No, mom will not answer the phone. She doesn't have an answering machine. Had one years ago and didn't like it for some reason. She has a good reason not to answer the phone. Started a few months ago. However, I gave her alternatives so she would know it's me calling and call me back, or pick up the phone because she knows its me calling. She said no. Her reason is because of her anxiety. She has GAD. So do I. We are both on pills but mine work better also my therapy helped me. I listened to therapist. Mom refused to listen to hers. I was maybe 55 years old before I realized I didn't have to do what she said or complain and say I really didn't want to do whatever. And a crisis happened for me to figure that out. Her voice is forceful, she is rigid also. She has always been this way from the time I was a little girl. I guess so many years of being too attached or influenced by her makes it very, very hard to distance myself emotionally. Standing up to her is hard but I do it when it is really necessary.
Hadnuff, I just had to laugh - I was about to write and tell you that "maybe" you both have anxiety disorder. But at least **you** know what you are dealing with. It is going to be hard to calm Mom down and focus on the things that really matter rather than worrying about everything that could possibly go wrong, but as the true adult now, that's what you will have to do. Pick the few things that your careful attention will make a difference in, do what you can do quickly and easily with the rest. Mom's not answering your calls is frankly, not very nice - she is wielding power over you by playing into your anxiety, maybe inadvertently but still, what a hassle even if it is just her inability to see that answering the phone for YOU would be safe and OK. Can you visit regularly? Again, not every time she asks, or every time you feel worried, but just enough to be reassuring for all involved? Is there a good nosy neighbor who can check on her?
The emotional bond is strong, and that's not going to change anytime soon regardless of the distance. She doesn't want to appear needy, but knows you need to move on with your life. Pay her a visit and let all that angst out of your chest. While you're at it, put an end to this phone tag game and pick two days a week and the best time to call each other.

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