emotionally needy mom

If you have difficulty talking with her about this, then do write her a letter.

Be overly kind and complimentary. Rely heavily on your appreciation of the sacrifices she made in raising you. Then reveal you’re not sure that, in it’s current form, your relationship is healthy for either of you. It will breed conflict with your husband and you, and it’s time for her to open her life to other things than you. Tell her you want these things for her. Make it clear you are sending her this letter because attempts to discuss this with her seem to go off the tracks and end in bad feelings and that is not your goal. Tell her, this is a new time in your life, things are going to change, for you, and for her, by necessity. Then spell out your boundaries, clearly. You no longer need to speak daily, or feel the need for her approval of your every action, and that this is normal for grown adult children. Tell her outright her neediness is not going to shape your relationship, attempts to guilt you into things, personal attacks etc will have no room in your life. Tell her it’s time for you and her to move on to the next level, a more mature and healthy relationship. Finish up by telling her you love her and always will, but, as an adult, you have to take responsibility for the personal relationships in your life, even the one with your mother. Tell her how deeply you would regret having to step away from your relationship if she’s unable to accept your boundaries as outlined. Tell how confident you are that she can do this, if she tries, and how wonderful a future together you share if she can make the effort.

Then be prepared to hold the hard line. Remove yourself, get off the phone, withdraw, whenever she reverts to guilting, attacking, overt neediness as manipulation. Do not engage. A simple, “We talked about this, Mom.”, should do the trick, as you withdraw. But she’ll be like a spoiled child, I predict, she’ll try everything. But, if you hold firm to your position, (don’t get angry, don’t hold a grudge), she’ll settle in to the position you want her to have in your life. And a healthier life for all of you it sounds.

Good luck and keep us posted!

elbows, that was beautiful. Just perfect.

One thing I want to add (and others might disagree). Invite her to your wedding. Hopefully, she won’t ruin your day but if you are trying to salvage the relationship, not inviting her will probably ruin it.

However you might want to assign a trusted family member or friend to be her personal “handler” and keep her from badgering you, sabotaging the day, and constantly demanding your attention.

My father pitched a tantrum at my college graduation because I was hugging some professors goodbye and thus “not paying enough attention to him.” Ya, rly. So, I say, hope for the best, prepare for the worst.

Learn to say no, learn to say no, learn to say no. Learn that you have a duty to preserve your life, your sanity and your marriage, and this duty is greater than any amount of guilt your mother inflicts upon you. Do not inflict guilt upon yourself because of her bad behaviour.

Your mom sounds like mine. Do you reach compromises with her and then find that she never, ever, in a million years hold up her part? I found that reaching compromises doesn’t work with my mother (for either of us three), but saying “this is what I will do” and sticking to it does. I’ve established when will I call her, she can call me to let me know she’s available within the timeframe I established - but I never, ever call her out of that timeframe. If someone dies, she better have one of my brothers call, because I won’t answer her.

You are NOT responsible for your mother’s happiness. You do NOT owe her your every living moment. She has NO right to throttle you under the guise of needing you.

It is OK not to reach a compromise with her, too, btw. It is OK to cut her off if you need to. You cannot be responsible for her health and your health - only your health. And not all mothers are worthy of salvaging.

I find the books “Toxic Parents” quite valuable and have a copy on my shelf.

One thing I do the rare times I talk to my mother is set a timer. 20 minutes, or whatever and bing! “Mom, I have to go.” And be firm on it.
Screen calls, definitely. And invite her to your wedding. Presumably it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event. But make sure someone is there to be between her and you. You don’t have time for her.

Letters are great but my mother wouldn’t read a letter. I would go this route - write everything down in a letter. Then read it to her. “Say, Mom, I really need you to listen to the end. No comments, no judgements.” Then every time she interrupts, say “Mom, you promised.” If she cannot listen to the whole letter, get up and say, “We’ll do this another time,” and calmly leave.

You must be the adult and never lose your temper in front of her. I know this is hard but your mother is not the adult here - you have to become one. I know she pushes all your buttons. she installed them, of course she knows where they are. Do not respond. Do not ever let the button get pushed.
Vent at home as much as you want. Write long, mean letters if it helps. But talk to her calmly.

And lastly, life is too short to be dealing with shit like this. The more emotional she gets the farther you push her away. If you have her at a very arm’s-length cool sort of relationship, so be it. It’s good for your mental health.

I agree with **perfectparanoia **and Hello Again. Invite her, but ensure a trustworthy handler is there for her. Or three revolving handlers, if you have that many trustworthy cousins/friends/aunts, so they get to have a good time too.

There used to be line in the marriage ceremony about “Forsaking all others” (maybe it’s still there, I don’t know). Most people think this is just referring to sex, but it’s also about not putting any other relationship before your marriage. When your mom tries to pull the “family” card on you, remind her that Mr lostgirl01 is your family now.

Your mom sounds a lot like my crazy grandmother. On the other hand, I have a great mom, so hold to your boundaries and know you are doing the right thing both for yourself and for any children you might have.

That’s pretty much what I said in post #10, but you said it much better. And what you said about keeping calm, times ten. Very important to keep your composure.

I also like the idea of having dominant reality. Basically that means steering the direction of the conversation and setting the rules. I’ve had to do this with my own father a few times recently. Not that I have a dysfunctional relationship with him (quite the opposite), but he’ll let conversations just ramble off into meaningless directions and let them go on forever. Taking control has helped keep our phone conversations under 3 hours long.

Boundaries By Dr. Henry Cloud


If you lose your temper, you lose what you were standing up for.