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Discussion Starter #1
I have been struggling a lot lately with my relationship with my mother. I have struggled my whole life with feeling like a disappointment to her because I always feel like she thinks I'm just lazy. I know she's trying to help me live up to my "potential", but often I feel like she is just trying to control me. She's never understood why a lot of things just aren't as important to me as she thinks they should be. (Because I'm plagued with feeling like most conventional things in society are totally irrelevant to me.)

I'm also REALLY bad at expressing my emotions to her. I feel like I'm reaching out to her and she brushes me off, but later I'll realize that I really didn't do a great job of reaching out. For example, I've been struggling with depression for a long time, and I can't seem to work up the guts to tell her about it and to bring up that I think I might need some help. (I hate asking anyone for help, especially her.) Or just in general, I've never been able to talk to her about my frustrations in life or my relationships. I'm always afraid to disappoint or hurt her. She just seems so fragile to me.

Does anyone have any suggestions on reaching out emotionally? I'm very good at expressing my emotions (or have gotten better at it) with my very best friend, but that is about it. I feel bad that I can't even do it with my own mom.
 

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I'll throw in a cheesy-but-true comment and say that it comes with growth - with the realization that you are both distinct human beings yet still capable of making a connection (of all people, since she is your mother). Mothers have instincts that sometimes passes us by; they know more than they let out, so it's possible she might even sense what is happening with you. Has SHE reached out to YOU?

Is she terribly confrontational and swept by a tornado of emotion, or does she tend to be more relaxed but strict? Depending on this, your approach might differ. Either way, you will have to set time aside and talk to her as openly and honestly as possible; I'm sure she'll take the time to listen to you, at least, if you show her how important this is. Clarify your perspective to her calmly, tell her it's different from her own, and maybe tell her some things she could do to help you out, and vice-versa. Let her know your discomforts. They may know more than we think, but sometimes they can be oblivious to what we don't tell them.

Set your ego aside, too, and seek help if it comes down to an absolute necessity, because if this depression is something that consistently plagues your mind, it should be dealt with as soon as possible. If you think you can overcome it yourself, give it a shot; try whatever methods you can. But if it becomes ineffective, reach out to people you know will be available to you, even if it's not your own mother (but still let her know).

As for the "control" thing, that may be correlated with two big things: her Mother-Hen Syndrome, i.e., "My baby chicks are mine!" and also her perception of your independence and/or individuality. Gain her trust and confidence - just demonstrate responsibility and emotional maturity to your best ability. The more she trusts you (assuming she has no psychoses or neuroses), the more she thinks you are capable of doing on your own, the less she would try to control you - especially if you make this noticeable, maybe even by surprising her with a gift or doing something unexpected.

Also, it makes them feel good to be needed, so that's probably the best way to start. This might be a big leap for you, and I know from experience, but one way I reach out to my mother is by asking her cooking tips or financial tips, or even asking her if she needs or wants anything every once in a while. Find something she knows about and ask her about it, get her to teach you one or two things, and thank her - even if it feels strange or uncomfortable; if you see her light up, you might feel better. This, I notice, makes a HUGE impact on her behavior. Mothers are strange, strange creatures - especially the SFJ variety.

:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is my mom and I trying to reach out to each other:

"How are you doing?"

"Fine, I guess."

End of conversation. :dry:


She is a very quiet person. Probably the most conflict-averse person I know. Which is why it is hard for me to bring up unpleasant emotions I have, because I feel like I'm physically hurting her. I just can't even imagine trying to bring up the subject.

I should have prefaced this with: When I was 13-16 I went through MAJOR depression issues. (Landed me in the hospital.) And eventually I just go so fed up with everyone wanting to help me all the time, and I realized how much I was hurting my parents and friends, that I just decided I would be better. Now I feel like if I admit I'm struggling again (which I have been for a couple years now), everyone is going to see me as the immature, angsty 13-year-old I once was. With my mom, I'm afraid she's going to FREAK out and think I'm suicidal again. It was a very hard time for her before.

Also, I already feel like she thinks I'm lazy, so I'm afraid of two different things... 1) That she'll view my depression as just more laziness. or 2) That she'll feel AWFUL about thinking I was lazy once she realizes I've been depressed.

Ha. I always ask her and call for cooking advice. I'd be lost without her. :laughing:
 
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