Hi. Let me start by saying I will try to keep this short. I'm a 54 year old divorced mother of two teenage children and we had to move in with my mother after a devastating divorce which ruined me emotionally and financially. We've been here 9 years and CANNOT ever leave financially and I tried so hard to get out! Lol sob sob...I suffer from terrible depression and a lot of self hatred. I've been in therapy for many years. The problem is that my mother wont stop certain behaviors. I'm so distraught I can't add details right now. She dismisses me as "too sensitive and its all in my head." The way I see it is I have two choices. One suck it up and continue to be as is with resentment and anger and hate myself for not being kind to my mother. Or two confront her again (she ignores my pleading for her to hear me) and hate myself for hurting her for the rest of my life. I'm so confused. I know I see things here that aren't right or healthy but she denies and my siblings just don't see it or say "she can't change now." Is this all in my head? I really need someone to help me. Thanks for listening. Sending hugs for anyone that needs one.

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Your post describes a psychologically abusive situation. Your mother will never change her behaviors, and knows exactly what she is doing. It's not "all in your head." You are NOT "too sensitive"

I'll mention this 1,000 times, to get you to understand it's not your fault: your post describes a psychologically manipulation situation, where the mother abuses one and only one scapegoat (adult)child, whilst hiding that covert abuse from everyone else. That type of mother loves triangulating siblings against each other. Pitting siblings against each other in the same way that a 14 year-old pack-leader does with the pack of mean girls ... to gang-up against one group member.

Unfortunately, as you wrote, you will never get anywhere "pleading," with your mother, At this point you must google abusive mother to learn more, and grab at least two old fashioned books, titled:
1). Emotional blackmail by Susan Forward ... and
2). Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft

My background is in counseling, which is why I cannot label anything more specific than generalized psychological manipulative abuse. As mentioned your post describes a situation that has you placed in a scapegoat role.

You are NOT "too sensitive," Those words are among a list of typical responses abusive asshats utilize as their standard replies, to shame their abused targets/victims/scapegoats as being "too sensitive." That's how abusive asshats get their victims to think it's the victim's fault, which in turn trains victims into thinking that the victims have control over the situation. When, instead the victim is being manipulated/guilted/conned to stay within the abuse cycle.

Tell your mother NOTHING about what you learn online. Most likely your siblings have been told their entire lives that you're the problem. Psychologically abusive mothers work hard to present a perfect image, so be careful.

And when you find information online don't tell your siblings anything about what you learn, usually siblings have very different experiences within a psychologically abusive dynamic. Your mother chooses to abuse.

Psychologically manipulative mothers have decades of manipulation experience portraying you as the problem, so it's best to learn everything possible, in silence. Sorry, "confronting," your mother will only hurt you further.

She will evict you from her life, if she feels that you're resisting her abuse. Manipulative people hate boundaries.

You're likely in a catch-22 situation. As soon as a scapegoat learns that the abuse is deliberate, that's when shock and whys, kick into high gear. Sorry, that you're in a bad situation.

Remember it's not your fault, abusive dynamics are carefully manipulated by abusive asshats.
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MountainMoose Apr 2020
Genius post, Screennames! I think you've helped A LOT of people here. Thank you! *hug*
You say you have ‘been in therapy for many years’. It doesn’t seem to have helped with your problems. Perhaps it might help to change therapists and start again, with the knowledge you now have that your mother is abusive and manipulative. Or stop paying for therapy, put the money into a ‘move out’ fund, and try reading about your problems. A good librarian can probably point you in a good direction.
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MaryKathleen Apr 2020
You are right on about changing therapists. I needed 3, each one helped me with a part of my problems, then they couldn't help me as I moved on.
Wow! These answers are all great! I would like to add a few things. I'm 64. Most of my life I have dealt with people who called me "too sensitive". My mother took advantage of me in some of the ways you are describing. Although she has long since passed away, I still learn from that relationship. Many of the relationships I have formed in adulthood were similar to the one I had with her. Makes sense. "Mom" is the relationship we know best. I have had numerous relationships that repeated some of those abusive tactics, even ones that I did not enter into voluntarily, such as at work. That is because people who need to take power from others are very good at recognizing sensitive people and exploiting them. This is the dynamic that has played out in your family. Mom's attempts at taking power from her children were not noticed by your siblings, but you have to ability to recognize them. As a child, you didn't have a choice but to let Mom take power from you. As an adult now, you can choose differently. I'm going to make 3 suggestions. The first is to become educated about the types of tactics that she might be using. Two good, free resources on Youtube are "Dr. Ramani" and "Les Carter". These tactics have names. Gaslighting is just one. There are many more. Then, when you start to be able to recognize and name the tactics, you can start to notice how you react to them. Do you cry? Do you get angry back? What can you change about your reaction? This is a good thing to discuss with your counselor...or to journal, perhaps. Finally, you have to build up your own inner self. Being sensitive is actually a gift. Its a superpower. You notice and feel more than others. You are more aware. These tactics used by your Mom to control you do not have to control you. But you do have to have a way to transform them. Do you have a religion? or spiritual beliefs? What is your source of strength? Personally, I like the Heartmath techniques. You can learn these from their website. They strengthen the inner core of your being. This is what you will need. When you can recognize Mom's tactics and know how they affect you, your inner strength will allow you to, not resist Mom, but to let her tactics roll off of you. You are then in a position where you can choose to respond to her differently. Your siblings are right that she cannot change. But you can! Give yourself time and forgive yourself when you fail--because you will at times. This relationship has been this way, oh, only your whole life! Its a journey! Best wishes to you and I hope this was helpful.
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GingerMay Apr 2020
Wow Peekachu. Great answer. I am familiar with the two individuals you mention on youtube. I read this thread because I experience similar. Very helpful answer. One thing I believe for sure is when you say the relationship with our parent has been this way our whole life. I really do not think they just change upon becoming elderly and ill. But, yes, we sure can. It is a journey for sure.
You are not too sensitive nor is it all in your head! Your mother is emotionally abusing you. My own mother emotionally abused me to and my dad and brother never saw it. My mother played my brother and me against each other and my brother still doesn't believe it. In fact, people think I have a great and loving mom because they never saw her for what she really is...a hateful jealous back stabber two-face...

Screenname is right. Do you realize that this is your mothers doing not yours. There is nothing wrong with you. It is your mother...she is damage. I wish I knew why or how a mother could do this to their child. It is mine blowing!!

Stay on this forum even if you don't post (just read) because their is a lot of us who's mothers were mean, emotionally and psychologically abusive. You are not alone! I know you feel very alone, but your not! We are hear for you and there are some really smart people on here when it comes to this subject. I have learned so much about myself, my mother and our relationship. I know your hurt but you can heal from this...I know it doesn't feel that way. You just need to repeat to yourself that it's not you it your mother. Your mother will never change and she will never see your side of things, but she doesn't have to for you to heal. You just need to see it!

My heart breaks for you...I know your pain all to well!

Sending you lots of hugs and prayers!💜
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My mother physically abused my dad and when he left for business trips, she was the same (beat me and gave me black eyes, etc) towards me. She always told me that she hated me because I look and act like him (He is a wonderful person). After years of self hatred and pretending that she was a good mom, I detached and have not visited her in 1 year.

My brother is clergy is in denial of everything. You have got to get out of there. I don’t know why your therapist is not helping you to become independent from your mother. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of her.

If you have no $$, look for employment & call the county/city where you live and get on a Section 8 housing list & get assistance. The situation is not good for your children either. I hope all goes well with you.
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First of all, the very first thing my therapist told me was, “There is no right or wrong way to feel. Acknowledge how you feel. Let’s look at this together to work on solutions.”

These words from my therapist helped me because I was being eaten alive with guilt and other confusing emotions.

You are entitled to your feelings. You can modify what needs to be adjusted later but for now at least accept your own feelings, even if you have no one but yourself to validate how you feel.

I didn’t know how to own my own feelings because ever since I was a child and tried to express how I felt I was either told that I was wrong to feel as I did, ridiculed, judged, questioned, etc.

My feelings were not acceptable to my mom if my opinion differed from hers.

It took getting away from mom to find my own feelings. Things fell into place after I was on my own. I found a healthy balance in my life and retained a relationship with my parents. I adored my father. When he died he asked me to care for mom and I did. She was living in my childhood home when daddy died.

Then years later, Hurricane Katrina hit, mom lost her home and I invited her to move into my home and she stayed for 15 years. By that time she was in need of more care. She has Parkinson’s disease.

Needless to say, this rocked my world. Of course, it was a challenge and became complicated. I have a husband and two daughters. It was hard to balance my children’s lives and mom’s life. Our children grew up and moved out of the family home. It was tough.

I felt a range of emotions. It became too much for me and I sought help from a social worker for advice for my mom and she recommended this forum for me to speak to other caregivers. I received wonderful support from this forum.

I decided to speak to a therapist as well. I asked mom to leave my home. I have a very limited relationship with her. We briefly speak on the phone once or twice a month. It’s a neutral conversation, more or less small talk.

I accepted that I will not resolve any issues such as past hurts or have any meaningful relationship or conversations with her. Do I love her? Yes, I do. Do I accept her for who she is? For my own sanity, I had to. I do not have the power to change anyone.

Am I at peace? Yes, finally I am because I surrendered. I let go of trying to control and it’s liberating. It takes strength to surrender. I always thought it took strength to hold on. My strength was in letting go.

It isn’t my place to tell you what to do. That is your choice. I wish you well no matter what you decide and hope you find peace. All I can say is for me, sharing a home became unbearable. It just didn’t work out.

It doesn’t sound like it’s working out for you. There has to be options for you to consider. You might even want a new therapist, a second opinion with an objective fresh perspective on your situation.

Keep us posted. We care. I am so sorry that you are struggling with this situation. All the best.
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2 things to consider.

1 - Your mother is not going to change. She is entitled to her opinion and may never be helpful, kind, or understanding. Start realizing this truth and find ways to deal with it while you live with her. I am NOT, NEVER saying that you are not hurting or do not need help. Good for you to seek counselling and help in overcoming an abusive relationship.

2 - Your mother is going to eventually pass away. At 88, it could be today or many years down the road. What will you do when she passes? Where and how will you live? Spend a little more time on preparing to live without her. Whether you go to work (I am 58 and looking for a job now) or can live on savings/retirement, figure out that budget. Make those plans and act on them.
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Another thought.... how has this abusive and chaotic situation effected your two children???
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I feel sad when I read that '"confronting" your mother will only hurt you further', as I fear it is true but find it hard to square that with 'setting boundaries'. In my experience (57 years of a manipulative mother who scapegoats me), trying to set boundaries on how much we would do for her just ended up with her saying she 'wished she could die if my husband wouldn't take her shopping any more'. (He is the current golden child, which causes tension between us as he doesn't experience her as abusive in the way I do and likes to please her.)

I too have often been told I am oversensitive because I still react in the programmed way when my mother belittles/tries to control me. I am having counselling at the moment but am not hopeful that I can change ways of feeling and reacting that have lasted this long. One of my mum's worst tactics is to moan about/criticize someone I care about till I feel forced to defend them, and then turn on me for being upset. This drives me crazy, and I am trying so hard not to fall into the same old trap.

Until I joined forums like this I thought it was all my fault, that I am a bad person, never good enough, etc. etc. It has been sad but comforting to find there are so many of us out there, carrying the scars of mistreatment by unloving mothers. So, basically, no you're not imagining it and you're not oversensitive and, yes, your mother has most likely damaged you. I hope and pray you will learn ways of dealing with it that bring you peace.
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Shell38314 Apr 2020
It is sad to know there are some many of us with unloving mothers!
She could be a narcissist. If so it won’t end. My mother is 93 and end of life. Severe dementia. Rather than have her die alone, we started hospice at home with health care aids. She has verbally abused me my entire life. She seemed to no longer recognize anyone. She’s refusing food and drink but I gave her a sip of ice tea. She opened her mouth mid drink and dribbled it down her cheek. She turned her head, looked me straight in the eye , and said “ See what you did?!” Both the aide and I had to laugh. Once a narcissist always a narcissist lol
if you can’t escape realize it’s not you it’s her. She won’t change but you can change how she controls you. Don’t allow her to see it hurts you, don’t retaliate , just look at her like she’s nuts and walk away. They want to get a rise out of you to make themselves feel better, more superior. Don’t play their game. If they realize it’s not working it’s not fun for them
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jacobsonbob Apr 2020
I believe you will feel a certain "liberation" when she is gone.
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