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My mother is like a cancer to me

Community Member

Our relationship has been rocky since I migrated to Australia and started living with her and my stepdad and two younger brothers when I was 15.

She is the selfless type mother. She tried very hard to love me but I found myself unable to reciprocate. In fact I felt her love is a burden to me. I never felt close to her. I respect her as a mother but I never felt any bonding with her. I don’t want anything from her.

She can be very unreasonably emotional, accusing and just unpredictable. I spent my entire teen years just being very afraid of her. Afraid to say the wrong thing to set her off, afraid poor grade to disappoint her. Just , afraid.

I couldnt even begin to describe the conflicts and frustration we had over the years and then one day I just felt enough and I left home. I started to breath again.

The estrangements were on and off. The last one was before my wedding and lasted 3 years. The happiest most liberating 3 years of my life. When she contacted me a few months ago I felt like a cancer survivor being told the cancer is back. No kidding. But purely out of obligation, i had to respond.

At first I was planning occasional brunch for her to see my son. But she is not a woman to know boundaries when it comes to her children. Immediately she wants us to have regular Sunday visit. Regular phone calls, messages. And quickly I have to help her out financially, help her deal with all sorts of errens like dealing with strata managers, fixing air conditioner and before I know it, I became the only emotional dumping ground for her.

She can call me for hours to an end complaining about my bothers and stepdad, her life misfortune and my mistreatments to her over the years. She will call me when I am at work to ask me the kind of detergent to use on mold.

Then she starts asking me if she shoud divorce my stepdad. And when I told her I couldn’t give her the anser, she acts frustrated and disappointed in me for saying that.

She has became the cancer of my life again, latching onto me for support, slowly seeping away my happiness and sanity. I know she loves me and she didn’t mean to burden me, but she just couldn’t help it. I am so stressed about her now that every time her id appear on my phone I have the sinking stomach feeling. My heart races and my hands started shaking.

I felt terrible I couldn’t love her. Our relationship runs purely on obligation. Im afraid to go to sleep only to wake up next day to her new issues.

I wish she never contacted me.

2 Replies 2

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Ariedne,

Thanks for sharing your story with us. Is it possible for you to set new boundaries with your Mum?

See her once a month or once a fortnight. Tell her you are unable to answer her calls at work and can only do so on weekends.

Maybe you could find a counsellor your Mum can go to and make an appointment for her.

When she does call you, try to tell yourself it is just your Mum and you don't have to become so upset. I know it is not always easy to do, but the more you think about this in a negative manner, the worse it will play on your mind.

Relationships can be difficult. Hope you find some ways to deal with all of this. Sounds like your Mum does love you in her own way.

Cheers to you from Dools

Hi, welcome here also

I totally know where you are coming from having had (estranged for 10 years now) a mother that was domineering, demanding, a hypochondriac, manipulating and yes, would ring me at work to cause an argument even though I was at the time a prison officer supervising 30 prisoners! It seemed there was no boundaries and she did what she wanted to do at all times not respecting me...because she owned me and "I am your mother" and "nobody is more entitled yo to things to you than me even if you don't like it" attitude.

I didn't realise when younger that eventually my relationship with her, this selfish trouble making way she had, would be terminal one day. There are some differences between my mother and yours though. I had the type of mother that would go to the end of the earth to revenge me if she felt threatened or her honour as a matriarch was being opposed.

Anyway when I turned 53 it all came to a head. When 29yo my first wedding was ruined by her tantrums (the spotlight wasn't on her) and I forgave her (or I'd lose my loving father) so at 53yo when she threatened to ruin my second wedding that was the end. I even had to get a court order to stop her forcibly attending the ceremony. My sister and I haven't seen her since and never will. Like you it was a sigh of relief. But we gave it our best effort. The problem is that we couldn't stop the erosion of love for her due to her antics.

With your situation your need is to stave off such a climax. The only thing you can do apart from Dools suggestion of counseling, is to put in boundaries, that you are happy with. Such passing of a list of boundaries to her could be the catalyst of an huge argument. The other thing you can do is exercise the power of your own strength. when she calls you while at work or ANYTIME that you don't wish to talk to her - don't answer your phone. She will complain- your answer- "I didn't want to talk to you at that time" and you don't have to give a reason. You are not her third arm.

Some domineering trait of parents can be read about by googling - "waif witch queen hermit" not suggesting she has any of those traits but it would be very interesting for you.

As for her problems they will not wain. You are either 110% in her life or 0% out. No in between. So it is up to you to restrict her access to your life and if that means self regulation then so be it because if you don't do that you will not have her in your life for long.

Repost anytime