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Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
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Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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I am very stressed with my mother. She is using me as an emotional

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I am very stressed with my mother. She is using me as an emotional punch bag and I hate it. I want to stop this cycle and move forward with my life
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 2 years ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

Thank you

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this concerning and frustrating situation.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Could you please tell me what's your age and for how long has your mother been abusing you this way?

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I'm 34 and she has been like this all my life, she is really pushing me to my limit

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I really don't want her in my life anymore but I feel that this is wrong cause she is my mother

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Also for how long has your mother been drinking and how often, leading to this or to any other issue?

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

She has always been a drinker, I feel she uses this as a way to express her emotions which I get the fall out.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to hear that. I must say that there is nothing that could justify any form of abuse, neglect or manipulation, especially if they come from your own parent.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

she has a partner and two sons but she doesn't vent at them from what i see her play the perfect partner/ mother role with them. However she vents at me she really is awful awful awful

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then she may have alcoholism, which is a very serious addiction, and the denial, avoidance and lack of accountability you seem to have described here, are typical issues people with addictions present.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I am also supposed to be going back to work for her in june and this is really stressing me out. So she controls my life finically which I hate

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see, then I think you have been self-sabotaging when telling yourself you must take her abuse because she is your mother. I believe that is a distortion of what healthy and acceptable love and relationships between child and parent should be.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Every time you allow anybody, including a parent to use, abuse, control, neglect or manipulate you, you are literally enabling and empowering her abuse

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

How do I manage her? every time I try and get way she finds a away back in.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I feel awful about the whole situation

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I really hate her right now and she has no idea what i am feeling

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

She would not stop unless you change your approach, since in fact she has no real power to do that, but when codependency undermines your ability to take good care of yourself, set healthy and clear, necessary boundaries and limits, they you enable her abuse and she would not stop.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

Yes we have been doing this whole cycle for my whole life. She is awful to me but she will do a grand gesture and use me as a emotional punch bag when she needs to vent.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You need to start being totally truthful with yourself and honest towards her, confronting any destructive-abusive behavior, setting limits and boundaries so not to perpetuate any unhealthy and codependent behavior-dynamic between you.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I've tried confronting her and she denies everything to the point of lying to me and making all the rows seem like my fault which I know they are not

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then please look for professional individual counseling and join a codependency support group in order to work on rehabilitating from codependency and learning how to effectively respect and take good care of yourself, cope with these challenges and build necessary boundaries and limits in your relationship.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I've tried setting boundaries but she doesn't listen, she even turns up at my house uninvited and tries to take over. she is very controlling of my life.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I want to have a normal mother and daughter relationship but nothing is working. She is vile to me.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sure, and she will continue doing the same as long as allowed /enabled by you, expecting this situation to significantly improved hoping she would just change that much is unrealistic, it would not happen because of her addiction, and very possibly the mood and personality problems she may have developed because fo the serious chronic issues you have described here.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That's awful. Then please do not delay getting necessary support to work on yourself and from there on your relationship with her.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I always seem to come to a block when trying to get answers to her behaviour.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

toward me

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Boos like Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself

http://www.amazon.com/Codependent-No-More-Controlling-Yourself/dp/0894864025/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1392134387&sr=8-1&keywords=codependent+no+more could help in the process, but cannot replace therapy nor a group support group to actually work on yourself and necessary changes in your life.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

she is the loving mother to her two sons and awful boyfriend but abusive to me. Why?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Right, that happens because you seem to have developed a serious codependency problem, enabling her abuse and manipulation even more.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Because of her addiction/s, mental and personality disorders that use to be present when a person deepens these destructive ways for so long, being enabled in the process.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Here you have a directory of local support groups fr codependency: http://www.coda-uk.org/?page=all

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

mental and personality disorder? such as. This cycle has go on for so long its normal for her? do you feel she has any empathy towards me and how i feel about her?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If you truly want to change your life for better, to take full control of it without any form of abuse or manipulation, then you need to start taking consistent actions with the right support, taking full responsibility for your own rehabilitation process, so for your own feelings, choices and actions, in that way your mother won't be able to perpetuate her abuse.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

I worry her actions will increase and she will become even more controlling/abusive.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Alcoholism and codependency are very serious chronic disorders, and for a mother to use and abuse a child from young age into adulthood shows serious mental and perosnality dissorders besides the addictions

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, it would be unrealistic to believe this situation would not get worse, it would get worse with time unless you decide to start working on taking good care of yourself, rehabilitating from codependency with necessary support.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

why me and not her partner or her other sons? why me?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I do not know, most times the most vulnerable, easy to manipulate child is the one used and abused by a parent with these serious addictions-disorders. Then if the child becomes an adult and develops codependency, enabling the abuse, it becomes a destructive visicous circle that could go on for many years.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

Ok I see that, I am/was the closest to her but now she is a cancer in my life.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Absolutely, that's a very accurate way to describe it.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

Ok, I think managing her will be a life long issue for me

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

But she has no real power to use and abuse you anymore. When you were a child you had no choice, but now as an adult, you do, so you need to take your power back and start taking good care of yourself. It won;t be easy but it is necessary and absolutely worthy.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

Ok I will try to star focused when around her!

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

That's why I am telling you that this is not something you just need to think about and hope for it to get better, you need to actually commit to work on yourself and your rehabilitation process from codependency with psychotherapy and a good support group, if you really want to change your life for good.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I truly hope you reflect on my words and take consistent actions with the right support, for you to heal and build the life that you need, long for and deserve.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Please consider reading books like the one I just mentioned before, and review information posted at previous website.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Feel free to contact me if you have any further questions and to follow up, since I am here willing to support you as possible.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

Thank you for your help.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. You can contact me using this direct link to my profile http://www.justanswer.com/relationship/expert-rafael-morales-toia/, just make sure you state "For Rafael only" in your request, for other experts to know you want me to reply, and I will respond in less than an hour most of the time.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Thank you for your trust. Take gentle care and consistent action.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Bye for now.

JACUSTOMER-wkp9zytg- :

bye

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sorry, could you please provide some feedback about your rating as "poor service"?

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 2 years ago.
Rafael is giving you the best of normal psychological knowledge and advice. But apparently you don't understand or don't like what he's advising you to do. The fact is, that while it is "normal" for mothers and daughters to have very close and trusting relationships, there is a sizeable minority of mother-daughter relationships that are toxic like yours. So if you insist on not thinking beyond "traditional family values" you'll never get beyond complaining that your mother doesn't do her part, and won't leave you alone, even though you're 34.

The fact is that when a woman is either a binge-drinker or an alcoholic, she won't be able to be a traditional mother, no matter how much she sometimes succeeds in giving the appearance of being a caring person to some people. Rafael was suggesting you go to codependency group; there's another well-known choice: Alanon is for family members of people with a drinking problem--and it's free, if you're worried about spending money for something you don't understand yet. You can call up the contact number for your local Alcoholics Anonymous & Alanon and then just go to a meeting. Nobody thinks there's anything wrong with YOU when you show up at an Alanon meeting, and you'll hear other people talking about their experiences with a drinking family member and members discussing what they can do to make their own lives more livable. You'll probably see yourself in some of those stories.

In traditional families it is especially difficult for daughters to violate the expectations of their mothers, and they're also very likely to be criticized by other family members when they don't act the way they "should," even tho their mothers don't act the way they "should" either. Perhaps you're giving yourself a guilt trip whenever you don't act like a daughter "should," and that's why you're so angry and stuck on the idea that your mother "should" act differently than she does.

You have NO HOPE OF CHANGING THE WAY SHE ACTS. So you have to learn how YOU can act differently. And you don't need to listen to somebody who's never lived in your shoes, like Rafael or me, who you can believe has no idea what it's like to be you. But that's precisely why you should go visit Alanon meetings--for which there's no need to join anything or to pay anything, or even to give your real first name (and last names are normally never used). For in those meetings you will find lots and lots of people who HAVE lived lives like yours, and they don't have degrees, licenses and training to make them think differently than you do; they've actually been thinking very much like you've been thinking, and they've been figuring out how they have to change the ways they think and act in order to make their lives work out despite having a drinking person as a close family member.

It might shock you to know that many people whose mothers or fathers are as unkind and intrusive to them as your mother have served them notice that they don't want any contact, and have moved far enough away to make such intrusion almost impossible. They have to mourn for the loss of the mother they always expected they would have, and might have had some of when they were a small child (esp if she hadn't been taken over by her drinking yet). Ironically, for many people--and you might be one of these people--it's impossible for them to think, do and say whatever it takes to keep their mother at sufficient distance and out of contact so she can't hurt them UNTIL they can accept the fact that the mother they can imagine and may sometimes experience really might as well be DEAD for them: For you can't genuinely ASSERT YOURSELF to someone you love and STICK TO YOUR ASSERTION AND DO WHAT IT TAKES TO KEEP HER FROM VIOLATING IT until you can fully accept that you might have to LOSE or even END the RELATIONSHIP.

So in conclusion: I'm not prescribing books or Codependency groups, but JUST GO TO AN ALANON MEETING, AND SEE IF YOU GET A CHANCE TO HEAR FROM AND SPEAK TO SOME PEOPLE THAT HAVE THE SAME PROBLEMS YOU DO. It really is harder for a daughter than a son to leave mother and possibly the rest of the family behind, when her mother is dangerous and debilitating for her to have any contact with. But you need to be one of those courageous daughters. That means you will need to redefine what it means to be a woman, since she can't be your role model. That's harder to do than just to go along with how society and mother seems to expect you to act. But in the end you get to become your own person, which is something you could never have planned out in advance. In the words of the most famous self-help psychology book ever written, it's "the road less traveled."

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