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How to maintain boundaries with my mum?

(16 Posts)
MargaretHale Sat 15-Aug-15 16:40:02

My sister and I are having a problem with our mum and we thought we would try to get some advice on it here.

I love my mum very much but she is very touchy, while at the same time stomping over boundaries. When I tell her that I'm unhappy with things she does she gets very upset. I need a gentle but firm way to tell her when she is crossing the line - this is hard because she usually laughs like a naughty child and thinks it's hilarious, but if you press the point too much then she flips over into being upset about it.

On a recent visit she had to share the spare double bed with my sister, and on successive nights she would get hot during the night and take her pyjamas off so that she was naked (although still wrapped up in the duvet they were sharing). My sister really objected to this, because the spare bed isn't massive, and it's weird to be in bed with a naked woman. My mom just thought it was a laugh, and then got annoyed that my sister was 'putting her comfort above my mum's'. She couldn't just take the duvet off, because she can't sleep with no duvet on apparently.

This is definitely not on, is it? It's not something she would ever ever do to a friend, it's like me and my sister don't count as real people to her - although she definitely loves us both.

She also does things like mention intimate things about her boyfriend that we just really don't want to hear (things like whether someone is shaved down there, etc) and we both protest and tell her we don't want to hear it and she just giggles. She makes sex jokes to my husband which I find excruciating. She also will wander around in her nighty at my house, but it's really short, and she doesn't wear pants. I would like her to stop this for my own sake, let alone my husband's.

This post sounds very negative - there are tonnes of positive points about my mum, I'm just really struggling with this right now.

MargaretHale Sat 15-Aug-15 16:41:21

I've just reread this and want to clarify - for lots of people it's not weird to be in bed with a naked woman! Just if it's your mum and you're not expecting it and haven't agreed to it, it is quite weird.

RoseandValerie Sat 15-Aug-15 18:19:55

Oh God, she really sounds awful.
There is no way I could tolerate anyone, especially my Mum, wearing short nighties and no knickers around my husband. I would have asked her to dress appropriately or leave.

MargaretHale Sat 15-Aug-15 18:41:11

Well we do! She laughs, and acts like we're being totally over the top, and we have to ask her a few times, but then every time she turns up she's forgotten. And it's definitely not that she's coming onto him in any way - I feel like she has just decided that she will do exactly what makes her comfortable and sod everyone else.

But she's not like that in other ways... it's very confusing.

pocketsaviour Sat 15-Aug-15 19:16:20

So all the boundaries that she crosses are basically sexual?

Did she also overshare when you and your sister were children?

highkickindandy Sat 15-Aug-15 19:17:42

I don't usually post on relationships and if this is typical behaviour for her the I am sure others can offer good advice.

However, I just wanted to say she sounds both sexually & socially disinhibited and if this is new behaviour for her, a change from her previous personality & behaviour then it's possible there could be an underlying medical issue so it might be worth encouraging her to get checked by her GP.

MargaretHale Sat 15-Aug-15 19:20:35

She has told me a lot of things that I wish I didn't know as a child and young adult- to do with historic child abuse, prostitute use etc in our family. It messed up my relationship with several family members (naturally) but she wanted me to carry on with them as before because they had changed and it was a long time ago.

She used me as a confidante from the age of 10, so did my dad (my dad used to be the worst, telling me when I was 11 that his girlfriend had cystitis so they wouldn't have sex that night.... I thought it was syphilis and was really worried!)

MargaretHale Sat 15-Aug-15 19:21:28

It's not new behaviour. Thank you for posting though.

SugarOnTop Sat 15-Aug-15 20:54:45

don't allow her to stay in your home if she continues her behavior and tell her to leave if she carries on with her information overshare. basically put a stop to it each time she does. by allowing it to carry on you're enabling her and of course she won't take you seriously. going low contact with her would be one way of creating and maintaining those boundaries - so if she acts up the next time you see her you let her know you're not accepting that.

amarmai Sat 15-Aug-15 21:50:47

this sounds like abuse . she should not be in your home as she is still abusing. Be strong and tell her now she will not be back in your house because of her past and present behaviour. Do not discuss- your house , your rules.

FATEdestiny Sat 15-Aug-15 22:05:14

Why is your Mum (and your sister) sleeping at your house?

Does she need to sleep at yours when she visits?

GoodtoBetter Sat 15-Aug-15 22:17:33

Have a read of this:

Firsttimer7259 Sat 15-Aug-15 22:21:43

Hard one and I really feel for you. Basically the only way to get change is to have consequences and actually impose them. The head on one is to tell her to put clothes.on or leave and then actually do that. The other way could be just not to have her stay because of the way she ignores and laughs off your requests. So just make other types of arrangements, book.her into a B&B. If she asks you why things have changed just say calmly that you have had enough of her behaviour when she stays over - be factual and specific.
Anyway that's what I'd do however my parent is a more total irredeemable idiot

MargaretHale Sat 15-Aug-15 22:23:37

That makes sense but it would be really hard to do. She would be so upset. I can't take it when she cries.

Smilingforth Sat 15-Aug-15 22:59:45

V hard but makes sense to me

Isetan Sun 16-Aug-15 06:38:39

That makes sense but it would be really hard to do. She would be so upset. I can't take it when she cries.

Boundaries aren't self monitoring, they need to be policed and there must be consequences for people trying to breach them. If your mother has a key (tears), that allow her to bypass the boundary completely, then the boundary is all but useless.

Your mother is not going to suddenly stop being manipulative and morph into a person who recognises and respects your personal space, which means your first step is to accept her for who she is and not who you want her to be.

Your options are:

Carry on as usual,
Limit or go NC,
Communicate your boundaries and the consequences of breaching them, police your boundaries (first deactivate her key), follow through with the earlier communicated consequence when the boundary is breached and repeat.

None of the above options are easy but if you really want to change your role in the dynamic that exists between you and your mother, you first need to understand it and I would very much first recommend solo counselling for that to happen.

It sounds like your mother was brought up in an environment where behaviour of a sexual tint was not private and she doesn't realise that her 'norm' was and is, not the norm. I dread to think what she was exposed to in her childhood.

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