What do I do about my mom?

Hi I’m new, what’s up :wave:
So I moved away from home about 3.5 years ago, and there were many reasons for me doing so but a big one was that I wanted to distance myself from my family (my therapist at the time said my family, particularly my mom, was toxic and I literally couldn’t bring myself to broach this subject with my mom so I decided to just put some distance between us and see if that helped). For the most part I’m glad I did this because once I was away from the situation I was able to more clearly see what was going on there and how unhappy I was, but to this day my mom still expects way more phone calls/texts/visits than I can manage without becoming annoyed and resentful towards her. For the first little while I tried to push past my feelings and make myself available to her whenever I was physically able to, just to avoid excess conflict - I thought of this as a necessary self-sacrifice to make my family happy. But it got harder and harder for me to keep this up, and eventually it became very clear from the outside that I was not actually enjoying spending time with them. I realized that not only was this an unhealthy way to maintain the relationship, but it also wasn’t actually making anyone happy, Since then I have been vocal about my boundaries, asking for space when I need it, learning to saying no, etc. Unfortunately this seems to also be making things worse, because it seems that the more I advocate for my space the more my mom pushes to find out “what’s wrong”. And so I tell her that it’s not personal, remind her that I’m very introverted so I need more space than her and my extroverted brother, yada yada yada, but no matter what I say she seems to hear that either a) I hate her (I don’t, despite everything), b) I’m being selfish (one time she said not phoning/texting/spending enough time with her was violating HER boundaries), or c) I’m actually on the brink of suicide and that’s causing me to push her away but what I actually need is for her to come save me (???wtf??? I live with my boyfriend and a roommate so there is literally no need for her to do that).
Anyway, we’re going through this again now - she asks how I’m doing via text, I reluctantly tell her that it’s been a hard month for me because I don’t want to be dishonest, she invites me over, I tell her thanks but what I actually need from her is space, she invites me on a business trip with her (???like what???) and starts trying to call me a bunch. I haven’t been picking up the phone because I don’t want to send the message that persistence is the key to breaking down my boundaries, but I can’t ignore her calls forever. How do I communicate with someone that literally will not hear my words for what they actually are??? Please help, I don’t actually want to have to constantly say no or cut ties with my mom but I really don’t know how make us both happy.


Things to consider saying:

  • "hey this is a busy month, i wont have time for chit chat with you or anyone else. All free time will be spent with my bf or resting and recovering.
    I will contact you when i have free time, but don’ t expect that to be soon.
    I wont be able to answer your calls, so please dont call or text. They will not be answered, and i wont have time to remind you.
  • then copy this message, and everytime she callls or mesaages, dont reply. Send her the same copy+paste response. Do this every time. Have your partner do the same " busy, cant answer, they will when they can".
    Eventually she will get the hint…hopefully!

Hi @Ummm_idkwtd

Welcome to Heart Support! Thank you for trusting us and making your post.

I’m sorry that your relationship with your mother is so stressful. I’m glad that you decided to put some distance between her and you. It doesn’t seem like that’s going very well with her constant interference and confusing behavior, however.

My father is very toxic and for most of my life (I’m over 50yrs old), I’ve tried to figure out how to have a healthy relationship with him. He lives in a different state now, so I don’t have to see him, but he does text me and it can get pretty aggravating and stressful. Most of our conversations would end with me being a “dumb ass” because I don’t think or believe the way he does. A lot of the times with me going into crisis and wanting to not be here anymore.

Last year, I decided to put a stop to this. I came to the realization that he isn’t going to change his behavior towards me. I can’t fix him and we will never be able to have a healthy relationship unless HE works on himself. That’s never going to happen because he doesn’t believe he needs help. I always believed that I was the problem.

I still have communication with him, but it’s on my terms now. I decided I wasn’t going to fall victim to his toxic BS anymore, so now when he starts in on me… I just simply stop feeding the fire. I stop responding to him and turn my ringer off. I have the control now and it feels good.

When she starts in on you, you don’t have to sit there and take it. You have the power to end the conversation (Mom, I don’t want to talk about this right now. I’ll talk to you later, bye) and not have to deal with the stress and triggers. You are also not responsible for her reaction to this. It’s something she needs to figure out.

I hope this helped, I know our situations aren’t exactly the same, but perhaps you can get some ideas out of my experience.

You matter!!!


From: Who.is

hello and welcome! I’m glad you have a good therapist to talk through this with. And I hope you’ve been able to talk about how to protect your boundaries. Maybe your mum means well and doesn’t realise that sometimes space is healthy for relationships. Sometimes people think that caring looks like being over involved and they don’t realise that it can feel like you’re not allowed to be your own person and live your own life.

sometimes those boundaries have to be built like a habit and I think some people may share the insight of making scheduled visits or calls which could be helpful for you both! It takes the pressure off you hearing the phone ring all the time and it takes the pressure off her wondering if she’s going to hear from you and questioning her place in your life.

From: Lisalovesfeathers

Hi Friend, Welcome to Heart Support, Thank you fro psoting here its good to meet you. I can see that you mum is finding it hard to let you go and is constantly worried about you and as annoying it, she feels that is her job as mum. I speak to my mum a few times every day so I understand the feelings involved however maybe you could come to an arrangement where you either talk to your mum on the phone or meet with here once a week to catch up on the events that have occured, Iwonder then if it might actually become something something that you both would look forward to rather that be an annoyance. Why dont you mention it to mum or write a note if you think she will take it better and see how she feels about that, let her know its not abandonment its pleasure. I wish you well friend. Much Love lisa .xx

Hey @Ummm_idkwtd,

It is so hard when someone doesn’t hear and understand what we say, especially when it comes to personal boundaries. Parents sometimes are not ready to let go, and need so much this connection that it can be so overwhelming, if not toxic over time. You are not wrong for expressing your needs and setting boundaries – this is very healthy and is the expression and so much emotional maturity. Well done for asserting your needs, especially in your family. The way your mother reacts is really centered on her, her needs and her struggles. She may not be aware of how controlling and intrusive her behavior can be, but that doesn’t take away all the frustration and hurt that it creates at times.

Worst scenario would be for this frustration to become more and more intense for the both of you, and to feel like you reject each other more. I can’t help wondering, do you feel like it could be possible to try to discuss with her about establishing a system for both of you to communicate in a way that matches both of your expectations (but mostly, to lower her own progressively). What about one phone call a week (I don’t know what is the frequency for you right now, this is only an example), at the same day and time? This could help your mother set an expectation for a specific time, and for you to anticipate when these conversations would happen, knowing that you would have time to rest afterwards. Sometimes, having clear and specific expectations in place, ones that you verbalize, can help people become allies in the midst of disagreements. It’s okay to use some metacommunication and encourage her to reflect on her needs and expectations in this situation. Although she may not be ready for it, and only time will tell.

No matter what you decide in the future, you are never right for sharing what is okay for you or not. You have a voice, and it’s okay to use it. I hope that, through it all, your mother will learn to adapt to the fact that you can’t be available all the time, and that it’s not against her as a person.

I’m proud of you for being aware of your needs and limits, and for seeking ways to cultivate this space for yourself in your life. :hrtlegolove:

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Hi Ummm,
welcome to Heart Support, thank you for reaching out.
i can relate a lot to your post, with setting boundaries towards family. often it hits double hard to tell them things.
in my case, i live away from family and we have only contact per phone. some visits a year. i had to tell them that
i now need my time, go my pace with life and also what i tell them, how and also when i visit them, when they
can visit me. my mum visited me for a week at the beginning of my therapy, taking meds and i was overwhelmed
with nearly everything. and then another person in my apartement for a whole week. that changed everything.
i was explaining that situation to her, all what she was hearing was “she is the problem” “is it not nice that i am here”.
i never said that. maybe you can explain it to your mom from a another perspective ?
with a view from the outside on that situation. also talk your boundaries out more clearly maybe. stick to them.
because you need to focus now on yourself. without those boundaries you will never heal properly. is it hard ?
yes. for booth side i would say.
you might not change your mom. no one will understand how you feel with everything. the only thing that you
should be clear about, that you want to be accepted. your boundaries and your “no” should be accepted.
maybe you can schedule a time with you and your mom from time to time. for a call, a walk outside or something.
glad to hear you have a therapist. friends that love you, a partner who is there for you. you deserve so much more,
all good things in this world my friend. you matter most ! :purple_heart: feel hugged

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