Friday, June 18

How can I avoid being depressed by my mother’s constant criticism? | Parents and parenting


I love my mother most of the time, but sometimes I hate her. She has always criticized me; Iit’s like i have to find fault (with my hair, my clothes, the way I do things). My brother escapes this criticism.

My mom is in it late 70’s, Y unlikely that change. It’s never worth arguing with herespecially now, how she is grieving and vulnerable after my father’s death last year. I suppress my anger, I shut up and change the subject. I call and visit often as I now have to help her with legal and financial matters.; my brother lives abroad and this is not his ability place. Mom lives in a different part of the country than mine, and it is not practical to go alone for the day, so I am very much in her territory when I visit her; if I don’t do things the way she wants it, there is an explosion. Then it seems to recognize that it has passed the upstairs and send sweet emails a day or two later about how capable I am.

What I need is to find a way not to let it get to me as much as it does. I suspect that a large part of my pain is probably due to the fact that I recognize both parents in me a lot, and I like the parts that are all Daddy, and I don’t like the parts of me that are more Mommy.

Sorry to hear about your dad. Sometimes when a parent dies, not only do you miss them, but you realize how much they diluted the other person’s less positive traits. However, he would be careful to praise the father who died and demonize the one left behind; things are rarely that simple.

These are the first days for all of you on your grieving journey, but it is important to realize that while your mother lost her husband, you lost your father. Sometimes in families, a person can claim all the pain, but you also need to cry.

The way she describes her mother, love and hate, is the psychologist and psychoanalyst Prof. Alessandra Lemma (bpc.org.uk) said, “completely normal” and yet it’s easy to fight with that ambivalence.

“It might be helpful,” Lemma said, “to think about the distinction between your real mother [the one you love and hate] and the mother that you internalized in your head [who is always critical]. Because it sounds like you have strategies for dealing with your real mother when you are with her, but when you leave you seem to be at the mercy of the criticism ‘inner mother’ and you may be left feeling that you have not achieved anything. it’s okay “.

This may be why it affects you so much. It must be exhausting to see her as relentless criticism even when you are not with her. If you could try to mentally separate these “mothers”, it might help. Meanwhile, Lemma suggested that you may “need to take a second look at how and where you set the limits. Are you assuming too much? “Do you need to go that often if these visits leave you so exhausted? it is your brother’s skill set in dealing with his mother? Can’t lighten your load in some way, not even remotely?

You may reconsider your idea that “she’s never worth arguing with.” I imagine that somewhere along the line you learned that it seemed less painful not to contradict her, and sometimes family patterns become so established that we no longer challenge them. But, as you say, you suppress your anger; Where do you think that is going? Our minds are very good at turning pent-up anger into other more corrosive emotions like resentment and even hatred.

It’s good that your mom tries to fix things. I wonder if there could be a conversation there. Could you try, perhaps via email in response to yours, saying something like, “Why does this always happen? I come to help you but I don’t like it when you talk to me like that, please stop. “I understand that you don’t want the explosions, but to contain them you have become their emotional punching bag. That is not fair to you and it will be difficult to maintain long term.

Your mother is not young, but in the late 70s she is not old either. It might be worth trying to explain, at least once, how you feel and letting any subsequent explosion be your responsibility to contain. Maybe even saying that if she’s so determined to do things her way, she does them herself.

Every week, Annalisa Barbieri addresses a problem related to the family submitted by a reader. For advice from Annalisa on a family matter, send your issue to [email protected]. Annalisa regrets not being able to establish personal correspondence. Presentations are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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