My Mom has always relied on me to be her everything. How do I handle this? -

My Mom has always relied on me to be her everything. How do I handle this?


Social network, vacation partner, handy man. Now I have a family for the last 7 years. I don't really go on dates with my husband because she doesn't want to babysit because she hates staying home alone with my daughter. She wants to come over a few times a week to eat so she is not alone. When we go on vacation, she always wants to go. If we do not take her she automatically thinks we hate her. She is 65. No faith affiliation. No real friends. Only drinks occasionally and it is always a mess. I do have a brother but he never does much to help out. We all live within 5 minutes of her. My family has been the one that has been her social support system for as long as I can remember. Now, my daughter is getting friends and wants to do more things with them. My mom is upset she is not included in all of those things. I tell her she is getting big and we all have to understand that we can't do all of those things. She gets upsets and says we don't want her around. I am very frustrated of how to handle this.

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You don't go on dates with your husband because your mother won't babysit? What do you think couples do who have no living grandparents for their children? Who live hundreds of miles away from either set of parents? It is NOT necessary to have a handy grandparent to do couple things without the child sometimes. It seems odd that this hasn't occurred to you. Do you think you might be set in your views of family roles?

Mom gets upset when she doesn't get her way. So? When your daughter gets upset to you always give in and give her her way? Is that really a healthy way to interact with a family member. Mom is an adult. You are an adult. Why on earth do you think it is your job never to let her get upset?

And she manipulates you with "oh, you don't love me." Nonsense. You know perfectly well that you love your mother even if you don't want her on all of your vacations. Don't let her drag illogical manipulation into your conversations. If the topic is "vacation" don't let her pretend it is "love."

I guess I am endorsing all the earlier posts about boundaries. And also suggesting you take a closer look at your views of appropriate family roles.
Helpful Answer (25)

You have to turn things around--Your mother is in the "habit" of doing things with you always! I'm 64 and this is nuts. She might be hurt--she might even be devistated but you have to slowly start turning this around.....Mom Tues night is mine and Jack's date night---Oh darling that sounds like such fun --when are you and Jack picking me up...Nope Mom this is me and Jack time........You have to break the silken bonds she has made you wear through out your life time. You are both doing a dance---you do step one and she does step two and then she does step three....and on it're the only one that can change that dance and that means YOU HAVE TO THICKEN YOUR OWN SKIN. I love doing things with my kids and Grandkids--but I'm a normal widow--I work--I have friends---and as long as MOMMY DEAREST has you--why should she change? That takes work. YOU HAVE TO THICKEN YOUR OWN SKIN and put your own foot down. There will be pouting, foot banging. you hate me stuff----SHE'LL GET OVER IT.....and even if she doesn't------you're a married woman with owe your family not your Mother....she had her life and now this is yours/.
Helpful Answer (18)

Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries.

You have every right to want to take a vacation with your family without mom tagging along. If you'd like to invite her, great, but you're not obligated to. Same goes with family outings. You're allowed to go on family outings without your mom and your daughter is certainly allowed to do things with her friends without her grandma along for the ride.

It's up to you to maintain boundaries. It can be very challenging and uncomfortable but you are not responsible for your mom's entertainment. That you invite her over for dinner a few times a week is enough.
Helpful Answer (17)

It might seem daunting, but you will feel better, the first time you say "No". Don't offer explanations. Just calmly say No. And then change subject, or finish phone call. I have lots of boundary issues with my folks, in their 90's who rely on me and 1 (currently) paid caregiver. Its hard to change tose boundaries, and its also hard to imagine you doing all you have done for ANOTHER 30 years? Which is quite possible. At age 65 your mom is still quite capable of seeking out her own social network. Don't BE it for her. She might pout, argue, silent treatmrnt, etc etc but you just have to calmly maintain your boundaries. Please report back with how things are going!
Helpful Answer (14)

In addition to setting boundaries for your mom, you might want to suggest she se a therapist. She's got some serious emotional neediness that warrants addressing.
Helpful Answer (13)

I just want to say "ditto" to all of the advice given above.

But , first, I feel your frustration and pain.

Here is the thing: I am 64.5--almost her age, and I can tell you that her behavior is not "normal" for our age group. It is TOTALLY CODEPENDENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Your mom is not a bad person; she has some unhealthy expectations. These always lead to disappointment and resentment--but they can, ultimately, lead to acceptance..

Also, she has been "trained" or "enabled" over the years you are describing to have these expectations. And it is easy for that to happen when children are young. You are mostly at home; the kids don't have a life of their own. Naturally, she became accustomed to your company.

Now, are you sitting down? The person who needs help is you. Not because you are crazy or deficient in some way but because you are the only person in the equation whom you can control. You have no control over your mother's thoughts and feelings. That is her business.

A few years back in the midst of a horrible family experience, I began to see a therapist--with such success that I could only ask myself one question: why did I wait so long? I wish to this day that I had done it when my daughter was the age of your daughter. So, I would say, go see a therapist. You have nothing to lose and the whole family stands to gain.
Helpful Answer (13)

After 7 years of no dates with your husband, what kind of shape is your marriage in? He must be one very patient, maybe too patient, man.Hire someone to look after you daughter and go out with your husband on dates!

Sounds like you have spoiled her over the years. Maybe your brother not helping very much is his way of maintaining some boundaries. Who knows? I would not worry about him or about your mother getting upset. I'd worry more about you, your well being, your husband, the well being of your marriage and the overall well being of your immediate family.

My wife worried so much about making her mother upset when we stopped letting her invite herself to go on our vacations. However, once that took place, our vacations were much happier.

I agree that you need boundaries in your personal life and in your marriage. I wish you well in dealing with all of this.

Let us know how things are going.
Helpful Answer (12)

Thank you. I have struggled with this all of my life and have not really dealt with it in a healthy manner. Now that we are all getting older, I need to learn how to establish boundaries. I am so glad I have found this website. Thank you for your reply. Have a blessed day!
Helpful Answer (11)

If you don't set boundaries now, what will happen when she gets sick and says she is moving in with you and your family? Believe me it would be the worst thing you could do.
Helpful Answer (11)

Boy, do I know this one too. She probably doesn't make friends easily... which is not a reason for you to supplement. When she ends up with more time on her hands she'll be forced to stretch. I'd humbly suggest you go to counseling for a while, this is what I had to do (and still go periodically to maintain). You have let the rules become this way and you would benefit from coaching to change them. Good luck :) make this change for yourself, as someone said 'silken chains' but they are chains nonetheless.
Helpful Answer (11)

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