Adult living with single mom

ebernMarch 19, 2009

I am an adult, almost 30 year old single woman who is living and working with my single mother.

We are partners in a small at home business, which we thought was a good idea to start together as we are both good at this and needed the assistance and income.

I am equally invested in this business and home and therefore feel that simply leaving in unfair to me. Actually, out of the question.

I am having problems with my mother because she will not respect me as the hard working adult that I am. She thinks she has to right to talk to me about any issue, whether it is her business or not, and if I don't want to talk about it she will persue me and force her opinions, because she is "the mother" and I have to respect her. If I tell her that she is overstepping, she then expresses a great hurt that she cannot speak with me because I am betraying her position. She recoils as if wounded because I am disrespecting her, not understanding that the day I stood on my own feet she actually stopped being the guiding female voice in my life, I now am the sole female manager of my life. I need to get her to understand this. I am tired of her histerics while accusing me of being the bad guy.

I need as peaceful a way as possible to get her to give me my space, and stay out off my back until this business grows and we can live seperately.

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You may not ever be able to resolve the problem while living with her. You might explain to her that you can't live with the stress and if it continues you may have to dissolve the business and move out. Good luck.

My sister was offering to much advice to her sons, finally one of them sat down with her and reassured her that they love her very much, then explained they are grown men and didn't need her telling them what to do in their lives. As far as I know she accepted it with grace.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 1:38PM
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I've been through this. Feel free to send me over an email if you'd like to talk about it.
Best of luck,

    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 2:58PM
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Disolving the business is a bit harsh, it feel slike a divorce to me and is not the first course of action at all. I would like to work at it as much as possible.

I spoke with her yesterday, and she took the route of continuing her campaign of acceptance (as I call it).
Her attitude that says "please accept me, please understand that because I do not mean to hurt you, that you shouldn't act as if I am hurting you. I don't want to be held responsible because I love you."

Yes love me, and change your behaviour, is what I would like to say, but how? How? If everything I say or do is put in terms of how she feels my saying "you have to change" will be a real attack. She needs to understand that I love her and that we can get along, but not on her terms. She is very manipulative and controling that way, everything on her terms.

It is to late for me to go back, I did not see this before now, but I will deal with it.

thanks silversword for the hand of support.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 8:23AM
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You'll never be able to change her behavior, you can only change yours. In that I mean, you can only change how you react to or deal with her.

So at this point it's up to you to set up boundaries. When she begins to talk about something which you feel is not her business, you need to cut her off. Be polite but firm. Pick a catch phrase which you can repeat. "Mother, I choose not to have this discussion with you." or something similar. Just respond with it twice then end the conversation by not responding further.

It won't be easy, you'll be tempted to answer her but don't. You'll have to do this a lot of times before she will finally catch on, but at some point, when it becomes clear to her that she is getting nowhere with her prying or advice, she should get frustrated enough to give up.

I used to do something similar with my kids. You know how kids are, they feel like if they can engage you in a back and forth tug-o-war of sorts, they can eventually wear you down and win. When they wanted something, they would ask repeatedly, with begging & pleading & demanding, etc. I implemented this method and told them how it would work. I'll answer the same question twice and twice only. After I've said no twice, I just quit answering. It's amazing how the minute I stopped letting them engage me, the fun went out of it. I had already moved my attention on to something else, and it was clear to them the game was over.

Now the cure didn't happen overnight. They tested me repeatedly by pursuing the same question more than two times. I held my ground and after two "No"s or whatever, just clammed up. Eventually they learned.

She's going to be hurt, and she's going to accuse you of being disrespectful. But that's her perception. As an adult, she owes you a certain amount of respect as well. As long as you let her guilt you into engaging in this conversation, she has the upper hand. Like I said, give your reply in a calm, respectful but firm manner. Stand your ground. Keep in mind that respect is a two way street.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:25AM
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You're welcome :) It is like a divorce. Very much so. My mother still has not forgiven me and is playing games, because I told her it wasn't working for me to have her living with me. She left that day, and moved completely out. Screaming all the while. She has control issues, throwing little temper tantrums if I didn't agree with her on every topic, telling me what to do (what to wear, how to clean, who to be friends with, how to do just about everything).

Ummm. I'm a married woman (30 years old) with a six year old. I've owned two homes, worked since I was a teenager and haven't lived in her home since I was 14. It's a little hard to let mommy control your life when you've been in control for so long.

I love my mom. But once I realized what was going on it became completely toxic and I realized that her living with me was not going to work.

Working with and for family is very difficult. I've done it on both sides, working and living with and I don't think I'd go back to either. I'm really very very sorry for your situation. I hope you can find a resolution that is satisfactory for you both. I didn't, and it still tears me up. But, as Lowspark said, it's a two way street. I cannot continue to take the brunt of what happened.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:12PM
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When my sons moved out I realized that I still had the habit of giving my opinion on almost everything they did, whether they asked for it or not. Later after they moved out and came to visit, I tried to treat them as if they were like a dear friend. Thankfully, we still maintain our new friendship, though I do have to remind myself not to judge them.
Maybe it would help to let your mom know that acceptence of who you are would show you that she really loves you. That's something she is asking you to do for her, so why shouldn't it be returned in kind?
Hang in there...

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 9:51PM
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don't live with your parents. that's the solution. you are an adult, move out. it is OK to work together and yes assistance is nice, but with financial assistance comes control.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 11:06AM
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Familiarity breeds contempt. These old saws always seem to have a lot of truth in them.

I agree, it's time for you to move out. Find a place nearby. Make it amicable, after all, you are almost 30 years old! And then set up a schedule with your mom for work, and treat her home as your office, you come and go at designated hours and treat each other with the respect coworkers deserve (but rarely get, but that's another issue).

Lowspark is right, it's only your behavior you are responsible for and can change. The longer you put this off, the angrier you will become, and so will your mother. It will end up being a fight to the death, for both of you. You'll probably end up destroying the business and your relationship with your mother, no matter who is at fault.

You are the only one who can make it work, or not. She doesn't have to admit or understand anything. It's clear that she still sees you as a child, not a capable adult, and she's pretty happy with that arrangement, so the question is, what are you getting from this arrangement. And what are you going to do to change it?

Good luck.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:32PM
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Yes, you need to move out. Also remind mom that even tho' she's stil "the mom," you are an adult and do not wish to be treated as the child you once were.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 2:50PM
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The Mom is not going to change unless she has to, that is why I suggested talking to the Mom and telling her to back off or the daughter would move and dissolve the business. It is very hard for a person to change. My husband was born a grouch and I watched him try to change for 30 years. He tried very hard and he did get better, but he also picked up when had gone to far and he stopped and apologized.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 11:25AM
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Thanks for all the advise.

I have really put my foot down in the past couple of weeks. I have made my boundaries clear, and you know what, until I move, I will keep "calling her out", and ignoring the rest.

I am just not the type of person who's first decision is to leave anything that I have started and am invested in. It is a tempting prospect, but not right for me right now.

I have put the brakes on alot, and there is definitely some sweet distance, even if she is mad, at least I have some more space.

I've decided to let her do some learning to deal in the short run. If things go according to planned, this living situation will not continue much longer, so it is the short run.

Feels good to just be myself no matter how she feels, I am working very hard here, and have earned alot of respect, so I'm gonna relax and ignore her emotionalism, and childish tantrums. I have decided to put up a fight for my life instead of cut and run.

The other day we were watching TV together, she asked me a "why" question about something I have no idea about. so I said "i have no idea" and kinda shrugged. she actually took one of the pillows on the chair and put it up between her and me so she could not see me. I moved in front of her and said "I am over here now so you need to move the pillow over here, and if you didn't want to be noticed you wouldn't make your attitude obvious". I also suggested that she simply go into another room, and not hear me as well.

Thanks again, but it's not much longer.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2009 at 6:57PM
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