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RyanS123's avatar

How Do I Handle My Controlling Mother?

Asked by RyanS123 (75points) May 31st, 2023 from iPhone

I’m almost 21 and entering my senior year of college in the fall. It is safe to say that the for the last 20 years, my mother has been rather controlling of what I do, often in odd ways and at an extreme level. At this point though, I’ve gotten tired of some of it as I’ve gotten older and know I could be making some of these financial, work, and academic decisions on my own.

For a brief backstory: Technically, I have worked at the same job for almost four years. I started in high school and stayed on and off throughout the first two years of college before quitting a year ago after continued issues at the job and finding a full-time summer job. By the end of August, the summer job finished and returned to school. During the first couple of months of the fall semester, I did not work and found money to be very scarce. Eventually, I found a part-time job related to my career interests that pays a nice hourly wage. However, I only get a handful of hours a week and when I started, only received pocket change for working there. I came to the realization that I would need to temporarily return to my first, crappy, fast food-counter job until I gained more hours from the new job. The situation has felt like a step forward yet a huge step back at the same time.

I returned to work shortly before winter break and made a load of money before returning to school and only coming home to work one night a week. I gained more hours at my new job and felt that I would soon leave my other job again. Then, in February, my grandfather passed away. I fell behind in a large amount of my class work and the rest of the semester became extremely difficult. I knew after just a couple weeks that a second job was not necessary on top of everything else I’d had going on. After speaking with my therapist about the situation, I concluded that it would likely be in my best interest to quit or at least take a leave of absence. But when I called my mother right after the telehealth appointment finished, I was told that I should “not do that yet” in the fears that I may have financial issues again.

So I stuck it out, but the extra $70 a week did not make much of a difference. I might have a steady bit more money in my bank account, but I certainly haven’t been able to afford nicer things and I’m not falling through the cracks financially either. My mother and I still disagree about working at this job. In addition, I decided to get a new summer job that is more related to my career interests, which my mom has heavily criticized due to a slightly longer commute and slightly lower pay. My mother has also been frequently persuading me to go to graduate school straight after college, which is something I’m not quite sure that I want to do.

What makes me more resentful of this situation is how my mom treats my brother, who is a senior in high school, has no plans for after he graduates, and has been through four jobs in the last year. She sees it for what it is. Meanwhile, it seems she’s done everything she can to make my decisions for me, and I’ve grown angry and burnt out. And the worst part is, whenever I tell her this is how I feel, she says that these “are my decisions to make”, even though she never makes me feel that way. What can I do to make this better?

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8 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Figure out where you want your boundaries to be with your relationship with your mother, and then maintain those boundaries.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would ask her uncle’s, aunt’s and her parents.

jca2's avatar

Tell her less as far as details go. When she asks what’s going on, tell her you’re thinking things out and not ready to share yet.

Forever_Free's avatar

Sorry to hear you are going through this. Respectfully state what you feel to her. If that is not taken into consideration by her then set and keep some solid boundaries.

KNOWITALL's avatar

That’s tricky if you live at home, or depend on her financially. To some degree, in those cases, she has some degree of input.

That being said, Id agree with @jca2, stop asking her questions and don’t share. There are other trusted adults you can go to for advice.
With your brother’s situation, she is likely trying to help steer you on a better path out of love.

kritiper's avatar

Move far, far away and don’t tell her where you went.

janbb's avatar

If you have a good relationship with your mother besides the fact that she’s controlling, I would use the fact that you are nearly 21 to have a talk with her about your maturity and need to make your own decisions. Then set boundaries. If she would react negatively to that kind of talk, I would take @jca2‘s advice and just not share your decision making process with her.

seawulf575's avatar

I see a couple things that you are doing that you need to stop doing. Comparing how you think your mother is treating your brother and how she is treating you, for instance. You are older, she will always treat you differently. Get over it.

That being said, the rest sounds easy to fix but really isn’t. Take responsibility for yourself. You are an adult, give yourself that respect. You are allowed to make decisions for yourself, but remember you have to live with the consequences. Once you do those things, dealing with mom is simple. You politely tell her it isn’t her choice. If she wants to offer constructive suggestions that is fine, but she will need to recognize that you are the final decision on all things in your life. Stop giving her the power of control. Expect the guilt trips when you finally do put your foot down, but don’t play her game.

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