Ever since I was 2 years old my mum was always working here in the US while I was left back in Asia with my dad and other relatives. I love my mum, I really do but sometimes she’s just too much.
When my dad died 4 years ago she wanted me to live with her, but now I’m already 24, I expressed my future plans of wanting to live by myself, she lashes out and guilt trips me. I understand where she’s coming from, she needs help to take care of my 10-year-old brother but she expects me to live with her until he’s 18!
She doesn’t want to let me go, saying that I’m such an ungrateful child wanting to leave her. I can’t even make my plans of continuing my studies without arguing because the school I have chosen is far from home. I can’t even work regularly because she wants me to stay at home and babysit my brother and my cousin’s baby. Everywhere she goes, I should be always present even when I’m terribly sick, she never listens and will scold me if only I should have taken medicine I would have been better already!
I don’t know what to do and I feel emotionally and mentally exhausted. I feel like my depression is getting worse to the point I don’t even like doing the things I used to enjoy. I feel so torn inside. Please help!
It is time to deal more directly with your mother’s emotional neediness, manipulation, and unrealistic thinking. Abandoning your own life to help a mother unwilling to help herself adequately will continually drain you. There is no delicate end to this type of situation. Once your brother turns 18, your mother will simply find other ways to manipulate you into staying.
You mother’s anger is the thing that is causing your guilt. The work is to get yourself some support through individual or group therapy and make a plan to get out from under your mother’s control. Your mother is robbing you of your life in order to feed her own. This is a selfish and irresponsible way of parenting.
I’d encourage you to make a plan to move on with your life, while helping your mom get services she needs. Ideally you and she should go to therapy together so the therapist can help broker this process — but if she is unwilling I’d make the appointment for yourself and get some direct guidance as to how to reclaim your own life.
Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: http://www.dare2behappy.com/. He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.
APA Reference Tomasulo, D. (2018). My Mother Is Very Clingy. Psych Central.
Retrieved on September 21, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/01/14/my-mother-is-very-clingy/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.