Anxiety Support
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Mother Love

Does anyone have a problem like this. I am 58 years old, married twice with 3 grown up children and 6 grandchildren. I now live on my own which is probably the best for everyone. My Mother treats me as if I am 5 years old. I am on benefit as I am too ill to work and she helps out sometimes with money stuff. In return I am feeling as if I have to be bowing and scraping to her. I have to report maybe 3 times a day to her. Be available 24 /7. Sign in and out of my house. I feel bloody suffocated by her and when I get the guts up to challenge her she just says I am imagining it. She is such a gentle kind woman in front of everyone else in the family so they don't really have any understanding. I am beginning to feel very paranoid about this. It comes up to the surface time and time again. I feel as if she is my jailer and can't stand the sight of her. OMG I am struggling with this, and hate feeling like this . It's just wrong?????

11 Replies

Parents are always difficult to deal with. My mum is very similar. I'm 41 (not gloating, honest) and my mum still has the ability to make me feel like a naughty schoolkid, with a look or a phrase.

I'm a trained therapist and I can deal with it better now, but there is still that split second where I feel...well...naughty, as if I'm a massive disappointment. My mum is always trying to be helpful, but it feels suffocating. I know she is trying to be nice, but it's just a pain. And when I, like you did, manage to be a little more assertive and stand up for what I think is right, I'm told I'm being silly/imagining it/being hurtful.

I find it very difficult to deal with my mum at times.

Probably wasn't much help there.


Hi Ellabella - hmm.... sounds to me as if your mother needs you to be dependent on her, rather than the other way about. If you help family/friends out with money occasionally, you do it out of love, not to control them! I had a slightly similar situation with my (late) mother (baby of the family) and still do with my two older sisters, though nothing like to the extent you have. Sign in and out of your house? Report in 3 times a day? Stroll on! Sorry, but who'd the one with the MH issues here?

I would suggest that, rather than "confront" her - as you say this doesn't work - you try a technique - I think it's called "fogging" though won't swear to it. Don't confront, distract. She's rung you once today, then she rings again? Say "Sorry, Mum, can't talk now, just running a bath/having supper/washing my hair. I'll call YOU tomorrow, okay?" Do NOT dance to her tune. She wants you to go to her/to come to you on Tuesday? No, you have something else planned, can we make it Wednesday? She can't make Wednesday? Fine, what about Thursday?

She rings the third time in one day - Oh, hi Mum - was there something you wanted, only i'm just about to eat/go to bed/have passionate sex with my toyboy ;)

Don't know if you've read any Transactional Analysis "Games People Play" - but you might want to look up the Victim/Persecutor/Rescuer roles - not an expert on it, but you might find it helpful - you could start here:-

But, frankly, Ellabella, she's a bully masquerading as a carer, and bullies have to be stood up to - I'm just learning that, and I'm a few year older than you!

Good luck :)

Rose xxx


Thank you Lions and Rose, There is 1 more problem.....she lives next door and constantly spies on me!! I can't hang 1 item on the line without " Hello!" coming at me from a window or the door! LOL I'm laughing to stop myself from screaming ........ I am sorry Lions that you find it suffocating but at the same time glad there is someone else that has this problem. Thank you for sharing that. Rose thank you for your advice too I will try those do your sisters think about this? mine get away with murder....because they work and have husbands to look after, also they pick and choose when they see Mum, I have no such luxury. I will do some reading that you recomend. I feel so guilty and weak willed where she is concerned and know for a fact it will haunt me forever if and when anything happens to her. Thank you again angels....Much Love xxxxxxxxxxxx


Hi ellabella. Briarose is right. Bullies have to be stood up to. But is there an element of guilt here? You say you feel guilty and weak where your Mother is concerned.Do you feel you have to be close to your Mother and others from a sense of duty? You are a person in your own right and you have every right to do what you think is right and not be persuaded by others to follow their ways. We all march to a different drummer and yours is not theirs. One simple word needs to be learnt. NO! If you do not want to do something say NO and stick to it no matter how hard it may seem.

Parents sometimes play on this guilt feeling with their children and manipulate it to their advantage. The only thing you owe your parents is respect as your parents, but nothing more. But that respect must not allow you to be turned into a slave, because that is what it amounts to. As ellabella says, do not dance to anyone elses tune. Always be polite but FIRM. You would not want to upset people unecessarily, but they do not mind upsetting you, do they? Friends are OK; relations can be a pain because we cannot choose them. Keep going and remember; you are you and not a puppet. Do not let anyone pull your strings. Jonathan.


Thank you for your reply Jonathon, you have guessed right ,I do feel I have to be close to Mum and I feel guilty that I don't want to be close. I find myself not ringing my own daughters or asking them questions about anything at all. I just couldn't bear them to feel like me. I have had to be rude at times as she try's to " speak on my behalf " while I am actually there!!! using my Christian name to explain to whoever it may be.... whatever it is that I want. I am very grateful for the answers I have had today and I will take heed of all your advice. Thank you so much : ) xxxx


hi ella, i can't comment regarding the above as in my opinion we should always respect our parents but believe me i know what you mean, just like sara said below just let it go over your head, at the end she only wants you to feel better and by doing this she feels like she is still needed in this life and that give her motivation to go on, is like she is on a mission to help you and that gives her something to do!!!

i hope you are feeling better

lots of love



Hi ellabella, Well i don't know your mother so i can only guess, but its that great old saying...she only does it because she cares! But i can completely understand where your coming from your a grown women. You shouldn't have to constantly keep her up to date with everything you do. But on the other hand, you are ill.. so maybe she worries especially because your on your own. Also my mother always speaks on my behalf it drives me mad, but i try to take a deep breath and just let it go over my cant pick your family! lol x


Hmm... sorry, I have to disagree somewhat with a couple of the previous answers. Respect our parents? yes, of course. Be treated like a child at 58? No way! There is a fine line between "care" and "control" - in Saudi Arabia women are "protected" by not being allowed to drive a car! Protection or control? You decide!

And, sometimes, there is what i believe professionals call "co-dependency" - in a sense, the apparent "carer" needs the "cared for" to be ill in order to give the carer a sense of purpose, identity or even, as suggested, control. Not healthy!

Ellabella, I didn't realise she lived next door - that must make the situation almost unbearable! A few small, and I hope practical suggestions. You say you only have to put some washing on the line for her to shout "Hello" from the door or window. You could try:-

- If you have a mobile/cordless phone, go into the garden with that clamped to your ear - you can't "hear" her cos you're on the phone!

- If you have a garden, grow some trees/bushes etc to block her line of sight - you can find some suggestions here:-

- You could even start growing - bit late now but for next year - some peas/beans on sticks - and explain you're trying to grow your own to save money! ;) Soft fruits are another suggestion

Finally, and this is the difficult one, do NOT let her "speak for you" - she has no right, whether she's your mother 20 times over. Obviously, I don't know in what circumstances she does this, but my advice would be to start small. For instance, if she says "Ellabella will have tea as well." say "Actually, I'd prefer coffee today."

It won't be quick, and it won't be easy, but you have a right to YOUR life, YOUR opinions and, fundamentally, YOUR privacy. If you belong to a library (if not, join!) look for some books on Assertiveness; ask your doctor if s/he knows of any courses on assertiveness or building self esteem etc.

It's YOUR life, Ellabella, do NOT let her get away with the rest of it!

love and good luck



PS If you've never seen it, try to beg/borrow/otherwise obtain a copy of the play/film "Separate Tables" by Terrence Rattigan - very old now, but a brilliant sub-plot of domineering mother, terrified submissive daughter who eventually revolts. I think you might find it interesting.


To Sara and Rouri, I do understand your points of view as I do these things most of my life. I realise I am ill but not too ill to want a life of my own. I am 58 and feel I must live as 80 years old! I do have respect for my Mum but also a deep anger that she must have her own way all the time and her views are not up for discussion. Thank you for your comments, they are all useful and considered. I know I am the centre of her life but she does have her own life. She drives, goes where she wants when she wants, and has a lot of social activities to look forward to. I on the other hand don't drive and have no social life due to this stupid illness. I love it when she goes out!!! I sometimes sneak off to the local supermarket when I am having a good day. It's just far enough to be able to get home if need be. If I told her I was going ...she would go as well. If I told her I needed to go alone she will fall out with me for days. I can't win with her and I can't let it go over my head either. It's so bloody silly!! but I can't bear being in disgrace. Well I am going to have a damn good try...Thank you Rose for your honest reply, I will certainly pick the bones off your notes! It all sounds very familiar to me. I will try and get a copy of " Separate Tables" and read the print of your reply to me.

Thank you for not making me feel like a freak. Much Love To All xxxx


Hi Ellabella, are there any support groups you could go to for your illness? they are not all doom and gloom but it is a good way to start meeting people and making a new life for yourself. Do you not deserve it? lifes too short and people including your mother can only upset you if you let them, why not go to confidence building classes, self-esteem/assertivenss classes? It's not easy to change something that you have always done for years but it appears to me that it does not matter what you do it's never enough, so somethings got to change...

Good Luck

Sprinkles xx


Thank you Sprinkles, I will make inquiries. I can't believe I have opened up on this site about this problem that is the bane of my life!!! The replies I have had have been so very helpful and given me plenty of research and a lot of hope. Yes ...something has to definitely got to change, Much Love xxxx


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