Domineering mother

By Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

My mother is convinced my father (her ex-hus. of 25 yrs) is gay, and she’s very upset that he’s getting remarried. I’m going to visit her early next month, and she wants to talk to me (again) about why “he’s gay” and why my children and I shouldn’t attend the wedding. I don’t want to have this conversation, or any with her about my father. How should I handle this? She gets nasty when things don’t go her way. I was planning on staying in her house for the visit, but I don’t have to.

A: Be blunt with her. Tell your mother her opinion is too difficult to keep listening to. Let her know you understand her point, but that you don’t like being subjected to her telling you what kind of relationship you and your children should have with your father. I would recommend you not stay there for the next trip (this will punctuate your point). Let her know that the relationship she had with your father is not the yardstick by which you will measure your relationship with him.

Follow up your meeting with similar clear and unambiguous messages. Don’t allow yourself to listen to her if you find the conversation uncomfortable. Be assertive, not aggressive.

Finally, let your mother know you want to have a relationship with her that doesn’t involve her trying to influence your relationship with your father. Don’t be soft or wavering with these interactions. If you don’t set the boundary with your mother, no one else is going to.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Jun 2011

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2011). Domineering mother. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2011/06/04/domineering-mother/