Author Topic: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial  (Read 9424 times)

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squeakers

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #60 on: April 11, 2013, 04:37:03 PM »
Do your grandparents and father have pcs? If they do skyping is the way to go.  You can see and hear each other and no worries about your mother touching you.  And if she intrudes into the conversation "oops, the program glitched!" as you shut skype down quietly.  Or even "what? sorry, it's getting all garbled on this end, darn computer!"
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EllenS

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #61 on: April 11, 2013, 04:48:37 PM »
OP, this is a really difficult situation, seeing as how your mom is so very manipulative and controlling.

It looks to me like a big part of the problem is that you are an adult, and she is treating you like an infant or very small child (which is the only time it is appropriate for a parent to be totally in charge of the child's grooming).  Boundaries are supposed to change as you grow up.

The difficulty is that you are seeing your relationship with your family as dependent on putting up with your mom's crazy, because that is the way the situation has always been.  This is an illusion, and it is one that your mom wants to keep, because it is her leverage to control you. Every time you go there, you are putting yourself in a dependent position, which just reinforces her treating you like an infant.

I don't think that continuing to go stay in their house, and blow up or arm-wrestle with your mom to enforce your physical boundaries, is healthy for you or for her.  When you are free to stay or leave, then you will be free to accept (or even offer) sincere affection because you will not feel coerced.

There are many alternative ways to build and maintain your relationship with your family, but it will mean changing the frequency, duration, timing, or other circumstances of your visits, or communicating with them directly through other means.  Your mom does not own your father, or your grandparents, and she cannot take them away from you.   That is part of dealing with your mom (and your family) as an independent adult, separate from her.  You can't, in essence, "use" your mom to serve your emotional needs (visit with relatives), and expect her to not "use" you back to serve her emotional needs (inappropriate grooming)

Hugs (of the virtual kind) to you!  I really hope you are able to move forward with this and things get a lot better for your relationship with Mom and the rest of the family.

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SPuck

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #62 on: April 11, 2013, 07:46:48 PM »
I think a good way to look at this situation is like this: If your parents didn't have the financial means to pay your visit home how would you keep in contact with your family? When you figure that out, do it. Visiting in person is nice, but there are alternatives, especially if prevents the anxiety.

Calypso

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #63 on: April 11, 2013, 08:29:12 PM »
I think a good way to look at this situation is like this: If your parents didn't have the financial means to pay your visit home how would you keep in contact with your family? When you figure that out, do it. Visiting in person is nice, but there are alternatives, especially if prevents the anxiety.

Excellent point. Sometimes, when the family dynamic is sick, it's nice to imagine what a different family would do in the situation. You can't afford to get yourself to them. If they couldn't afford to get to you, or pay for your plane ticket, what would you do? Call your grandparents a lot? Would you accept their paying for your visit (you seem to indicate they can afford it) if your parents didn't have the money?

The other suggestion I have, if you decide to go back to your parents' home, is to give your Mom a Teddy Bear. Seriously. She's acting like a needy child that wants attention and comforting, so get a nice squishy soft bear and present it to her. "Mom, you seem to really need something to hug on; here's Mr. Bear----anytime you feel the need to touch me, you can squeeze and hug him all you like." When she goes for you, put a hand up and say, "Whoops! Where's Mr. Bear? I'll go find him for you, Mom!"

workingmum

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #64 on: April 16, 2013, 06:52:55 AM »
If she's denying that she's doing it at all, I'd start saying "Don't touch me" in a low, monotone voice.  If she tries to continue to hug, enforce your boundaries both physically and with words.

For example, arm extended, palm out preventing her from closing within arm's length, along with an icy "I said do not touch me."

There's no reason a person should have to give more than one verbal warning to someone who invades another's personal space.

I haven't read all the replies yet.. but so much THIS! I am not a touchy feely person. The only way to stop it is to say STOP! I've had friends/coworkers who are the exact opposite of me and are pretty friendly/touchy etc. You warn them once with "Sorry - I really am not a touchy feely kind of person". If they do it again.. "I told you I don't like to be touched"... the next offence gets a very stern "DO NOT TOUCH ME AGAIN".

I know it can be different with family, but sometimes you have to be even more blunt with them than you would other people (family always seems to have a way of making you feel like your feelings aren't as valid as theirs - well.. mine does at least  ;) )
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Virg

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #65 on: April 16, 2013, 10:22:51 AM »
JeseC wrote:

"I get that, I'm just wondering if there is any border at all between "not see my grandparents, quite likely ever again" and "let her do whatever she wants."  There's got to be SOMETHING I can do short of not visiting, even if I can't afford to pay my own way there (I don't have the several hundred to spare that I'd need to do that)."

Thinking that there must be some answer that will solve the problem and that you just haven't found it yet is part and parcel of the "magic words" concept.  If there's any magic answer, it lies in not letting your mother control any visits, and that means not accepting her offers to pay your way or board you while you're there.  If you could find a way there and stay in a hotel or whatever, you wouldn't be subject to her because you could simply visit your grandparents independently, but you yourself found a reason not to accept your grandparents' hospitality and you seem to be thinking that visiting is the only way to see your grandparents, so you're artificially limiting your own options.  Others above suggested contacting them from afar, by phone or video chat or whatever, and that would allow you to maintain contact without your mother being involved.  If you absolutely must be there in person and you don't want to continue playing the same game that you've been playing all your life, then you have to find a way to change the rules, or you have to allow yourself to quit the game and not go.  You can't have it both ways, because that requires Magic Words and they don't exist.

Virg

EllenS

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #66 on: April 16, 2013, 10:55:01 AM »
you're artificially limiting your own options.  ...  If you absolutely must be there in person and you don't want to continue playing the same game that you've been playing all your life, then you have to find a way to change the rules, or you have to allow yourself to quit the game.

Virg

Yes, yes, yes.  There is no way to beat your mother at her game, because she invented it and she changes the rules to suit herself.  If you are not trying to "win" anything anymore, but just living your own life as you want - then her games just become ridiculous and pathetic instead of controlling and intimidating.
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Curly Wurly Doggie Breath

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #67 on: April 16, 2013, 11:48:33 AM »
OP, I feel you, because I've found that this is the only way to get some people to take me seriously.

Not you too! She's got enough problems just dealing with her mother.  ;D >:D


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TurtleDove

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #68 on: April 16, 2013, 11:53:59 AM »
OP, as others have pointed out, you seem to want to see change without actually making any changes to yourself.  You cannot change your mother.  I will repeat that, only stronger: You WILL NOT change your mother.  So you can only change yourself.  You have been provided with many workable ways of maintaining a relationship with your grandparents and other family members independently of your mother.  For some reason, you find an excuse for why these ideas would not work.  You mother is treating you like a dependent child, but from my perspective, she has some reason to do so because you ARE depending on her.  Nothing will change until you stop using her financially and allowing her to affect your emotional health so constantly.  Break away and be you, regardless of what she thinks about it.  Change is hard, but you CAN do it!  Best wishes!

JeseC

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #69 on: April 16, 2013, 03:07:02 PM »
OP, as others have pointed out, you seem to want to see change without actually making any changes to yourself.  You cannot change your mother.  I will repeat that, only stronger: You WILL NOT change your mother.  So you can only change yourself.  You have been provided with many workable ways of maintaining a relationship with your grandparents and other family members independently of your mother.  For some reason, you find an excuse for why these ideas would not work.  You mother is treating you like a dependent child, but from my perspective, she has some reason to do so because you ARE depending on her.  Nothing will change until you stop using her financially and allowing her to affect your emotional health so constantly.  Break away and be you, regardless of what she thinks about it.  Change is hard, but you CAN do it!  Best wishes!

Look.  There's other stuff, stuff that I didn't want to put up on the board because it seems like, for all there aren't any magic words, every time I mention people expect ME to do magic with my own life.  I need her.  Not just because of my grandparents.  I need her because I can't afford to take care of myself on my own, for reasons outside of my control.  And because all the state aid programs where I live turned me down because I'm too young and still in school, and I'm not willing to drop out and give up on my education and savings just to get a teensy bit of sub-par medical care without her.  That's reality, and believe me I have tried every option I can to get out of it.  But it's just not possible right now.  Using her?  Maybe.  I know it, I know there's something wrong with me because I'm disabled and therefore stuck being a child no matter how old I get, but that's not my fault now, is it?  Even though most of the world thinks it means I deserve whatever abuse she throws at me because if I were a real adult I would be able to work and support myself and do everything on my own if I just tried hard enough to get over my medical problems.

EllenS

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #70 on: April 16, 2013, 03:16:11 PM »
I'm so sorry you feel beat up on, and sorry that you are in such a difficult situation.

Nobody here, as I recall, has said you deserve abuse, or that all medical problems can be got over by trying. 

However, you do have options.  They may not be good options, you may have excellent reasons for not wanting to take them.  By acknowledging that you DO have choices, and you are CHOOSING to handle the situation in one way over another, you empower yourself.

"I am stuck and there is nothing else I can do" throws your power and agency outside of yourself and makes you more vulnerable.  "This is a hard situation and there are a lot of things I don't like, but I have consciously chosen this as the best option right now to meet my needs," is empowering self-talk.  The more you empower yourself, the more options you will see, and the more flexible and strong you will become in dealing with the situation.
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Moray

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #71 on: April 16, 2013, 03:16:58 PM »
Quote
I'm not willing to drop out and give up on my education and savings just to get a teensy bit of sub-par medical care without her.

JeseC, I guess what we're saying (or at least what I'm saying) is that this is a question of the choices you make about your relationships. You choose to rely on her for [x things] while pursuing your education. That is a choice. The other choice may be living with a couple of roommates, or moving someplace where the cost of living is more manageable, or putting school off while you work and save, or standing outside a free clinic with your fingers crossed, or even living in a box by the freeway. Obviously, some options are better or more reasonable than others, but you're actively making choices that have you depending on her for some things, and she may decide to put conditions on those things. You may choose to reject the conditions, and therefore her assistance, but you cannot have it both ways.

Etiquette can't make those choices for you, or solve your issues with her. All it can do is guide towards being polite about whatever communication you engage in.

I'm so sorry you're in a tough spot, but all the frustration in the world won't change the reality of the situation. Which is that you choose to interact with her, and you cannot control anyone's behavior but your own.
Utah

Virg

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #72 on: April 16, 2013, 04:21:42 PM »
JeseC wrote:

"Even though most of the world thinks it means I deserve whatever abuse she throws at me because if I were a real adult I would be able to work and support myself and do everything on my own if I just tried hard enough to get over my medical problems."

I can understand avoiding certain things in your post because you're trying to get an unfiltered view or trying to avoid bias in the answers, but saying that you're not able to "drop the rope" with your mother because you're financially obligated to remain in contact is a very important part of your question and it would have changed the way everyone approached it.  Up until now it's sounded very much like someone whose past prevented her from seeing that the cage door is already open and having that pointed out would be the best approach.  With the new information it becomes a lot clearer why you can't simply walk away from the whole situation.

Given all this, my advice does change, but it only changes in level.  You're still in a position where there are no "magic words" or actions that will change her, so now it becomes a matter of deciding what price you're willing to pay to change the rules of the game.  Having medical problems stinks, and it raises the cost of changing the rules, but in the end you do have the power to cut her loose.  That's a very empowering feeling, so it serves you well to remember it, because that puts you in the position to decide how far it goes.  Even if you decide to keep things as they are, knowing that you can get out if you really, really must will give you extra strength to say "just a little while longer".

In the end, only you can decide how far you're willing to go to make it stop, but your mother isn't going to change so you must, if you expect the situation to change.  No matter how far you go there are options available for you but you have to make that decision.

Virg

Raintree

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #73 on: April 17, 2013, 12:59:43 AM »
I feel your pain. I have experienced this type of person, ie the person who crosses boundaries and no matter how you word it when you spell out your boundaries, they will turn it around and beg you to get therapy for your "issues." Or, in a similar vein, when they are called on their bad behaviour, they turn it around and make it about something YOU did.

As another person above mentioned, there is no way to beat these people at their own game, because they make up the rules to suit them and change them as they please. It does sound as though you have to put up with her at least for now, so I'd suggest (as PP's have said) a simple, "Don't touch me." "I SAID not to touch me." "Did you not hear me? I said don't touch me." The other thing I'd suggest is the silent treatment when she goes off on one of her tirades about how YOU need help. I don't generally advocate the silent treatment as a way to work out problems, but some people just cannot talk problems though in a rational manner and will instead go on an on about how YOU need help for your "issues." If they won't shut up about it, you just have to walk away, pick up a book, rummage through some papers, and generally appear not to be listening.

I wish you all the best as it's not an easy situation.

bopper

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Re: "Please stop doing X" - handling denial
« Reply #74 on: April 17, 2013, 09:10:19 AM »
I agree with others...you have a "script" on how you deal with your family.  You do not realize that you can change the script and you don't have to ask anyone.

Perhaps you don't come home for the next holiday/occasion (if you are not livinga tthome).  If you plan everything around them, they will continue to think they are the center of the universe.

Also, use "I" words, not "you" words.

So say "Mom, I am uncomfortable when you keep touching my hair."  instead of "You always touch my hair and i don't like it."  If she says "that is what people do" then you say "Nevertheless, it makes me feel uncomfortable.  Why are you doing things that make me uncomfortable?" And accompany that with getting up and leaving the room.  To make it less confrontational, whenever she touches you, you could get up and say "excuse me, I need to go to the rest room".

So she will learn "touch OP"=she leaves.   Right now she has learned that "touch OP" is okay.

Also maintain relationships with your grandparents independently of her.  Call them once in a while. Do stuff with your dad only sometimes.