Some people may be familiar with my crappy living situation, wherein I have a controlling mother and how I can't get away from her due to being unemployed and broke.
My mother is pretty messed up in the head, though she'd deny it until she was blue in the face. Ever since her idiot boyfriend left (temporarily) about five years ago, she not only does all manner of inane, stupid stuff to ensure he doesn't leave again, but she makes me do it too. She also feels she must fight all my battles for me and make choices for be because she thinks she knows what's best for me better than I do.
She reminds me a lot of a bratty child, wherein if she doesn't get her own way, she will scream and push and fight and nag until she gets it. The downside is, unlike a child, she cannot be distracted from what she wants. She has an incredible amount of mental stamina and she can easily rag on about stuff for days, weeks, months, or even years.
Some fun examples include:
- Being told to do things for her boyfriend. I hate the guy, but I am forced to bow down to him like she does. She forces me to send him Father's Day cards and sign them, "Love, Dark Stranger"...even though we're not related. Currently, I've been told I have to spend time helping him sell car parts on eBay rather than work on a huge project. He seems to not be immediately interested, so I guess she expects me to follow him around holding his hand, asking, "Are we ready to sell car parts now, honey?" like a mommy.
- Being forced into college, twice. My mother has always felt that a college education would guarantee me a six-figure income and an easy-peasy laid-back job, so off to college I went against my will at age 17. Well, I never got that $100K job, so I was shipped off a year after graduation to graduate school. Telling her, "No, I don't want to go" did nothing...even when I would be screaming and vomiting and having godawful panic attacks, she would scold me like a naughty puppy and tell me she's making me go for my own good. Estimated student loan debts by the time I get out of grad school are over $120,000.
- Lies all the time to me to make a point. Mom will lie out her backside to me to try and prevent me from doing things.
- She is always the victim. It doesn't matter the situation, she will always make it about her. She has what I think is narcissistic personality disorder and she's, therefore, a professional victim.
- She's either just stupid or tries to sabotage certain efforts of mine to become more independent. Didn't allow me to even have a learner's permit or a job in high school. Taught me to do illegal things in preparation for my road test (I knew they were illegal, so I didn't do them during the exam).
- Tells me what I am allowed and not allowed to do. Case in point, I have been informed that I will not be allowed to have the radio on when I get my own vehicle. I will not be allowed to make the six-hour drive to my friend's house (who I visit a few times a year) alone when I get my own car. I am not allowed to spend the night at my boyfriend's house, even if the weather is bad and he can't take me home. I am not allowed to be on a public bus. I have to ask permission to do many things - I can't just tell her, "I'm going to XYZ. See you later."
The biggest issue is really when she forces me to do stupid stuff for her idiot boyfriend. He's a pretty big moron too - he'll verbally abuse Mom when he doesn't get his own way, but she feels she can't put him in his place because he might leave her again and she only wants him around for free labor (mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, fixing the car, etc.) In reality, the idiot needs someone to tell him what to do - his ex had him on some very tight reigns and he behaved himself.
I feel kind of bad for my mother because I know she's not incredibly happy with her life, but that's mostly her fault. She chose to disown her immediate family because of some stupid argument six years ago. She chooses to not be firm with her partner and allows him to treat her like a doormat. She never goes anywhere with her friends or co-workers. She won't go on vacation because she's afraid someone will break into the house and kill me. She feels like she can't tell her idiot off when he ruins her things.
She really is pathetic, but that doesn't mean I feel sorry enough to enjoy what she does to me. I think that's where my mindset of, "Just be with the first man who looks in your direction" mindset in high school came from. I dated a really controlling guy as a teenager and I thought the abuse was just something I had to take...like she does.
What I deal with probably isn't as bad as it could be, and I don't hate my mother. I just hate being forced to do things because SHE'S afraid of her partner leaving. If, gods forbid, he were to be physically or sexually abusive to me, I honestly don't know if Mom would tell him to leave or tell me to just deal with it because if I don't, he might leave and then she will have no one to shovel her precious driveway.
If you are in grad school like you mentioned, I would guess you're maybe around 24 or so? What are you studying? Are you in school or did you finish grad school... wasn't clear about that? Either way, the clear and obvious answer here is that you need to get out of that house and become independent. You have an undergraduate degree and despite the economy right now, you should be able to find some sort of job that will allow you to start saving up money to move out into your own apartment, or you could go the cheaper route and share an apartment with others and you would be able to move out quicker.
I hear you blaming your situation on your mother and her current partner, but ultimately it has been your choice to stay in that house - after you turned 18, while you were in college, after you graduated college, during grad school, etc. During any one of these periods in life you could have moved out and started your own life. But you have chosen to listen to your mother and not get a job, go to grad school even though you didn't want to, etc. It sounds like it's about time you start making your decisions and do what you want to do. It's hard to make huge changes like this in life and I know it can be overwhelming... just take it one step at a time.... start looking for a job, then maybe find a room/apartment that's affordable to rent, etc. Good luck!
I am taking things a step at a time...it may be a slow process since a lot of these battles are going to be uphill (since I will have absolutely no support - Mom will be against me), but I will eventually achieve independence. I'm going to be taking my driver's test again next week and I'm hoping I pass this time.
I did not want to mention my age because I feared I'd be judged, which many people have done to me already in other areas of the board. I'm not in my current life situation because I want to be, but because until I can afford to move out, I have to be.
My student loan debts were pretty hefty before grad school, so being out almost $600 a month when I make a four-figure annual income sure doesn't leave me much money to set aside.
My mother's gotten into my head most of my life and is used to being the authority figure. She knows I'm pretty weak emotionally and if she just screams at me enough, I will break down and cry and just agree with whatever she says to make her stop verbally abusing me. She's also very good at being the victim (as in it's always someone else's fault and poor her is suffering), guilt-tripping, and passive-aggression. She's the one who will mumble out loud to herself about how no one helps her do anything, but then she either does not ask for help or refuses it when it's offered. Heck, I've even learned I can't fume about her attitude - if she hears me having a fit about the way she treats me, she threatens to break the door down and screams at me that she doesn't want to hear me complaining.
So I hardly have an outlet for any of my frustration.
The worst part is I can't even afford counseling to help me learn to grow a spine. I have insurance, but it's Mom's, and something tells me she would not take kindly to me seeing a shrink who would tell me how to tell her to shove it. Once she noticed this kind of "bad" change in my behavior, she'd probably cease the counseling.
Another fun thing she likes to do is pick on my friends - she likes to take cheap shots at the ones who are looking for work as well as the ones who have jobs. I don't know why since none of them have ever done anything to her. She uses them as fodder for why she feels grad school is for my own good - she feels if I don't go, I'll end up working retail. I hate to tell her, but there are plenty of folks with Master's degrees and Ph.D.s (spelling?) who are flipping burgers if they're lucky. She doesn't seem to get that a degree does not guarantee a job, but since she's always right and everyone else is always wrong, there's no convincing her.
Perhaps her level-headed co-workers could explain things to her. She sure won't listen to me, but maybe she'll listen to people she's known for 30 or more years. I appreciate her supporting me when I cannot afford to be on my own, but she also would stop me from moving out if I said I wanted to. She wants me to be independent in some senses, but dependent in other senses. It's confusing - I can't be both.
Last edited by Administrator; 11-14-2010 at 08:31 PM.
Reason: disallowed subject
I wish I had a simple answer for you. Since you are the exact same age as my daughter, who graduated college, works full time and still lives at home, I am trying to think of what I would say to her.
I think that I would tell her that she's not in an easy situation. It's very hard to be "adult" in the sense of age, yet "a child" when you have rules you need to obey to keep your mother happy. I would tell her that she needs to spend as much time thinking about her own character over getting so wrapped up in making a case against her mother. I realize that your mother (to say the least) is sending you mixed signals about
growing up and becoming independent...but I think that you are wanting people to feel that she is terrible and you are an innocent victim. Please realize that even if everyone on this board agrees that your mother is terrible...you still do not win a thing. Yes, maybe people will feel badly for you, being in a tough situation, but that will not change a thing. It reminds me so much of my marriage. I've been married 30 years, happily married for the mostpart, but when my husband and I had a problem I would tell and retell my story over and over again, hoping that people would agree with me that I was right, and that he was terrible. Please let my age (50) and experience tell you, it's a hollow victory. Because in the end, all I was showing was that I felt absolutely powerless.
I think that you should take baby steps toward independence. If it's possible, take a second job. Will that be hard? Yes. But if you want freedom, it is going to come at a cost. I think you should act like an adult to your mother's boyfriend too, REGARDLESS
of what you think of him or the relationship with your mother. You are a 24 year old young lady taking time and money away from a woman he cares about, you know? And that is not to make you feel guilty or badly about yourself. It's just to say that you are not the only one whose life may not look so free right now.
Start showing your mom, and the world, that you ARE an adult. Each little victory will add up. Each time you don't have to ask your mother to pay for something, will matter.
Your situation is not hopeless.
I may take some time and some money away, but not as much as he does. And I question just how much he cares about her when he intentionally says and does things he knows are going to upset her. And she gets upset so easily because she's so scared he's going to up and leave...and no one should have to have their life ruled by so much fear, but I think that's all my mother understands is fear. She is seriously afraid of everything.
I pretty much just limit contact with her idiot partner as much as I can because he likes to take cheap shots at me...like he'll make fun of me to my face sometimes about not having a job, yet he's a job scammer who works just long enough to claim unemployment, and he never gives my mother any money toward rent or groceries or bills. He spends it all on substances and car parts and my mother has to buy him necessities like razors and underwear. If I got a job, I would give whatever I could for rent and such after my own bills were taken care of.
I think my mother is mentally abused by him, and because she knows she can't keep a leash on him, she keeps on on me so she feels like she's got control of something. And she has absolutely no life. She doesn't visit family (she disowned them several years ago and refuses to try and make amends), she doesn't ever visit friends or entertain guests because her house is a pigsty no matter how much anyone tidies it up, she never goes out with her idiot partner for drinks or a movie. She won't go on vacation because she's afraid of planes, trains, boats, and buses, and she can't drive anywhere that isn't local by herself because she's afraid of driving faster than 40 mph. She won't go out of town for a weekend for fun because she worries someone will break into the house and hurt me if I'm left alone. Basically, her whole life is work, her idiot, and me. And that's mostly her fault for being afraid of everything and being ruled by those fears rather than facing them.
I digress. Is my mother a terrible person? No, of course not. I think she's just screwed up in the head. And I don't mind having some house rules when in someone's house, but telling me what I am and am not allowed to do when I am outside the house has to go. For example, I volunteered to watch a friend's dogs while she was away fro a few days...I told my mom about it and she flipped out so bad, complete with screaming and bawling, and then she called the friend and told her I would not be watching her dogs because Mom didn't want me to "die for your mutts from the pound." So Friend had to find someone else to watch her dogs on very short notice (which made me feel like a jerk since I promised her I would), and I was told by my mother that if I tried to watch the dogs anyway, she'd call the police and say I was kidnapped and that they'd bring me back home.
She talks about how when she was my age, she'd be out until 2 or 3 in the morning having fun and how she didn't care that her mother was worried and angry. I kinda wish I was like that...but as said, I am just so sensitive to being screamed at - the the point where I get anxious and frightened - that I usually do whatever it takes to avoid being screamed at because it unnerves me that much. It's awful.