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Really horrible fight with mother(20 Posts)
I have literally been crying hysterically for the past half hour. I am just starting my career and my mother has been very helpful. However, she has also become increasingly controlling and now tries to dictate all my decisions to me.
Tonight's row was about unpaid internships: She is trying to persuade me to take one. I am against them on moral grounds. She had a massive go at me, saying that I will never get anywhere if that's my attitude and I should do what she says because she has more experience. I replied, 'Do you not think I'm well aware of the arguments for and against? But this is my decision and I have to do things for myself!'
I'm 24 and she is still treating me like a child. Generally we get on very well but this argument has been brewing for a while. She said some horrible things: that I'm a moody teenager and that I always 'play the ill card' (I'm tired at the moment due to a chronic illness that has been a real challenge to treat and she knows that). I wanted to let it drop but she wouldn't let me and carried on goading me to the point where I walked out.
I'm now at my dad's though he's away at the moment so I'm all alone. I've spoken to my DP but still feel very lonely and down. I have been struggling with major clinical depression recently too which my mother also knows about.
I'd really appreciate any hand-holding or advice on how to proceed from here.
Also, I'm sorry if this seems like a big overreaction on my part but I haven't fought with my mum like this for probably a decade and I'm in shock. I can't believe some of the vicious things she said.
I'm probably also tired and hungry which doesn't help.
I did lots of unpaid work experience as a student / post grad. It really helped me get a good job.
Are you working at the moment?
I am working and earning reasonable money in a completely different field. I took an unpaid internship once before and regretted it - however I'd probably do so again if I really believed it would help. However, that's my decision to make and not my mother's.
she sounds like an interfering old bag who is way too involved. Have you googled enguling narcissistic mothers' Might ring some bells....
You've been crying hysterically about this for half an hour? Really?
Perhaps that's why your mother treats you like a child.
And actually, I think she has a good point about internships.
I agree with you about internships. I don't think anyone should work for free, it is bad for the individual, social mobility and the economy. If I thought there was no other option I would do one begrudgingly but I don't think they should be an expected part of career development. I understand the crying too. Perhaps it is time to start distancing yourself a bit? You have a job, it doesn't sound like her input is in any way helpful and actually sounds quite unkind.
Well, I did explain that I was very upset because this is our first fight in a decade and she said some horrid things about my illness. This is my mother we're talking about, who is quite literally my best friend (or so I thought). Anyway, I'm going to ask for this thread to be removed because clearly I am totally overreacting and shouldn't have posted in the first place.
But thank you offred - I know what I want to do so I'm finding her attitude very unhelpful.
I don't think you're overreacting, I think that fight sounds pretty horrible? I've done a few unpaid internships because thats realistically what you have to do in my field. It could be that that's the case for you - but regardless, it is your decision and your mother should respect it. Look after yourself..I hope you're getting good treatment for the depression
I don't think you are overreacting and no-one is justified telling you that based on such sparse info tbh.
You have had a strong reaction. Your mother sounds controlling and you are relatively young. From what you say this sounds like the process of really separating from your family and that can be both difficult and eye opening. Controlling parents don't like it when their children exert independence and you may have one of them.
It definitely sounds as if you need to back away and establish yourself away from her. Perhaps then you will be able to renegotiate a relationship as equals.
What field do you work in? Internships are necessary to break into some industries.
Sounds like my mother, though (some years ago now) she was against me doing unpaid work experience, because it was unpaid. Not her decision.
Can only suggest working towards moving you and your stuff out of her house and living elsewhere.
Personally, I think the issue isn't about internships, it's about her respecting your views. And if you are suffering from depression, have other health problems and usually get on well, I can see why this has been a very upsetting fight. It may well be that your DM is struggling to accept you're now an adult- mine def did this. We got on really well when I was young and a teenager (and was therefore under her rules), but she hated it when I grew up and made my own decisions. I'd say, be kind to yourself, trust your instincts (re your DM and re internships), try to get some RL support and some sleep.
What, she wants you to give up a paid job to take an unpaid internship? Or is expecting you to be able to do both? Regardless, it is your decision and not hers to make.
It's okay to be upset by the hurtful comments she has made about you and your illness, you are allowed to have feelings. As you are suffering from clinical depression, its not surprising that you are taking this hard.
Once you are feeling a bit better, I guess you need to think about where you go from here. I think it would be healthy for you to have some boundaries - such as refusing to get into an argument about your career choices. You don't have to justify yourself to her. This is a hard thing to grasp if she has been emeshed in your feelings and decisions up till now, but you really don't have to convince her that unpaid internships are terrible (either in general or in your case). I'm not an expert about how to word these things, but if she brings it up again, you can reflect her view back at her so that she knows you have heard it.
"You think I should take an internship. I am not taking an internship. I do not wish to discuss this further. [change subject]" (and if she continues to try and argue with you, "I said I was not going to discuss this." [and leave].
That said, I think that after the hurtful things she said about you being ill, I think that really you should just try and disengage from her a bit. Hopefully she'll apologise. If she doesn't and just tries to pretend it hasn't happened then just say "You said some really hurtful things to me about my illness/career choices/etc the other day and you haven't apologised for them, so I'm not in the mood to talk about X, Y or Z"
Even if she does apologise, be cautious about her being controlling on these issues or other issues again. Given that you are unwell, it's easy to become too dependent on one or two relationships, do try to get some time away from your mum, preferribly with your DP or friends so that you can have some perspective on your relationship with your mum. Be cautious about the "best friends" thing if this is dependant on you always agreeing with her and doing what she tells you to.
Hope you recover from your illness soon, and that your mum is capable of having a non-controlling relationship with you. Have you had/would you consider talking therapies? they might give you the space to think about your relationships.
Hey I have cried for hours after a fight with my mum too. Its not over reacting its ok to cry when in pain. Mums can be controlling at time. They sometimes feel I carried you for nine months and now that you are grown you think you are better off. I think she was only supposed to suggest and let you decide on your own what you want. But involving your illness during argument was also wrong.
The argument will cool off I thnk its good you walked away you could have continuously said hurtful things to each other its normal for people to argue
Is it possible that your mother's controlling behaviour could be the root cause of your clinical depression?. You perhaps only get on well with her too because what you do is what she actually wants, its all on her terms. Bucking this trend now has seen her turn on you.
Not all mums by any means feel a need to be so controlling of their offspring.
Such people also never apologise nor accept any responsibility for their actions.
Where's your Dad; what's he been like?.
I think that over the years you have become totally enmeshed with your mother, this often happens in such situations. You may well find it very difficult to break away from her but break away you must for your own sake. I would stay away from her for the foreseeable future. Longer term think about raising your own boundaries a lot higher than they currently are with regards to your mother.
I would read "If you had controlling parents" written by Dr Dan Neuharth.
I second what Attila is saying. Having a controlling parent is pretty much a sure-fire path to depression.
Learn how to detach yourself from her views, from her behaviour, and the emotional response you have to them, and you will better be able to thrive.
Your instinct to want your own life on your own terms is totally right. Don't lose sight of it.
I am sorry you're going through this. My experience at a similar age may help (if not ignore it without guilt as I am not judging you or telling you how to live and my experiences are to do with depression rather than chronic fatigue - or whatever has caused you chronic fatigue). I am bi polar but at the time it was thought to be clinical depression. I got diagnosed after coming home from uni and my mother did wonders for me to get me help. She was constantly there, making sure I got up, dressed, fed etc. She got the docs to take it seriously and paid for treatment. When I decided to train to become a barrister she was there behind me encouraging me. However depression was not allowed to affect my life in any way. My doctor recommended taking a year out to get better. Mother was having none of it - no, I was allowed to have depression but god forbid it actually have an effect on anything! In a lot of ways it was hell as I was doing 3 days a week at college and then 2 days in a psychiatric hospital. I was never allowed to slow up or actually put my life on hold to get my shit together.
At the time I was too exhausted most of the time to think about it but I know her expectation that nothing would suffer as a result of the illness was misguided at best! If anything suffered the way she was made me feel the same as you - that I was playing the 'ill card'. I didn't achieve my best because of the depression and the stress of trying to not let it affect anything.
BUT 12 years on I am incredibly grateful to her - not because she was understanding and supportive (which she was for the most part), but because she didn't allow me to wallow and give in to it. I know that when I have a bad period I am capable of getting on with life because I have done it before - yes it is hard, but I can do it. If I can do it through the worst period of my life, I can do it now.
It is very difficult to tell the difference between something being just too much and giving in to the illness and doing what the illness is telling you (i.e. go to bed and hide). It is a balance that I still find very difficult to find - how much of it is restorative and good for me and when does that tip over into being destructive?
A few things to consider - she has got used to making decisions for you as you have probably needed her to and so let her. Letting go of that is going to take time. She is probably incredibly frustrated with your illness as people around depressives feel incredibly powerless to help and it goes on soooo long it really does use up other peoples patience - this may be where her 'ill card' comments come from.
Disentangling from mum was difficult as I had to establish that I was an adult and could do it all without her. Without her I would not be here and would not be as successful as I am but it was a long process to convince her that I could make my own decisions again about my own life. She had a chat with my therapist at the time who, very nicely, told her that I had to be allowed to fail on my own and to but out!
Perhaps your DM is frustrated at the illness and that she cannot fix it for you. Where you go from here..? If your DM is usually FAB perhaps a bit of empathy for her frustration (I am not excusing her treatment of you - it is not acceptable, but maybe understandable) and to put together a plan for your career and discuss it with her (after making it) as an adult. Depression is a horrid beast as it completely skews my vision of the world and I over react - only you know if you have done that. Good luck, you can get through this. You can succeed.
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