Mom won't let go

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2003
Mom won't let go
3
Thu, 07-24-2003 - 5:59pm
I feel like I am losing my mind....

A few years ago, I left my abusive husband while still in the early stages of pregnancy. My family was very supportive and helped quite a bit. When my son was born, they immediately took to him as he is the first grandchild. Now he spends a lot of time with both my mother and my grandmother after school.

In the meantime, I have not had a serious relationship until the past year or so. Now my boyfriend and I are starting to plan a future together and we are looking at houses on the other side of the city, about a half hours drive from where I live now. My family, particularly my mother and grandmother, are accusing me of "taking my son away from them" and being unappreciative of the help they've given me up until now. They have gone from accepting my boyfriend to harboring ill feelings towards him. They feel I should stay in the same town I grew up in and uphold the family tradition of keeping the women close while the men in the family do pretty much whatever they want.

There have been so many fights - no matter what positive point I try to argue, they twist it and it always comes back to me being selfish. They are acting as if I am moving hundreds of miles away when it's actually about twenty. I don't know what to do. This is creating a rift between me and the rest of my family. I feel they are being completely unreasonable. I try not to argue but I get so upset. They make judgements about my relationship without knowing all the facts and say disparaging things about my boyfriend and myself. I don't want to lose them, but exactly how much abuse do I have to take just because they've been there for me in the recent past? Am I supposed to cave into their demands just because I made one bad marriage choice while I was still fairly young and they helped me through it?
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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-17-2003
Fri, 07-25-2003 - 11:47am
Ophelia,

I am very sorry to hear about your abusive husband. I was in a bad relationship, we never married, thank god. My mom and my sister helped me with it. Six months later I still felt bad, but I was determined to get on with my life, and I met my now boyfriend. He is four years younger than me, but we have had the best relationship. I am so happy to be with him, and he feels the same way. My sister immediately started making up lies about my boyfriend even though she doesn't know him, my mom believes her, and I feel betrayed.

My understanding of their behaviour is that they don't want to lose me again like they lost me when I was in a bad relationship. They probably don't have complete trust in me or my choices in relationships. I have been with my boyfriend 1.5 years, our relationship is excellent, but my mother and my sister would never know, because they are too closed minded to it. They don't want things to change, in essence, they want to control my life, and do what they tell me to do. This way I will never be unhppy again, right????

My advice is to avoid fighting with them. Prove to them that you and your boyfriend have a good relationship, and try to include them in it as much as possible. Every chance you get say something nice about your boyfriend. For example, my boyfriend took me to this nice french restraunt because he knows it's my favorite food. Invite your family on outings, go to the beach together, or go hiking. Make sure your family knows that they will still be in the loop. But above all give it time, do not force them to accept him, or they will rebel (even adults do this). Eventually they will accept him, and you will be able to forgive them for their behaviour (because they really do have your best interests at heart).

My advice didn't work with my sister because she doesn't approve of his race or his age or how much money he has, and has done some irreversible damage that I will not go into. One of the biggest reasons I dated my ex was because my sister and my mom approved of him overwhelmingly, but it was a total and complete disaster. I will never ever do that in a million years.

Sorry for the long letter, I hope this helps.

-Danielle

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-03-2003
Sat, 07-26-2003 - 10:40pm
This is my advice. I feel that your family should never stand in the way of what you are pursuing. However, this doesn't mean they won't try. So what if you made a bad mistake before, Im sure it took alot for you to go to them, pregnant and have them help you out. It's obvious now that you're trying to plan a bright future for yourself your boyfriend and your son. it's wrong of them to accuse you of being selfish, you aren't one bit. Just let them know calmly and rationally that its only 20 miles away and that they will still see you often. Also that you appreciate all that they have done for you these past years but that its your turn to take control and that you're going to do just that, regardless of their attempts at trying to stop you. Good Luck -bunny
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Mon, 07-28-2003 - 10:18am
I SO know how you feel. My mom wasn't so overt about feeling like she was being left out, but it was still very difficult. I lived with my parents for 6 years while I put myself through school. After school, I moved to a different town that was about 30 miles away. A friend of my mom's actually asked me if I intended to take my children with me. DH grew up in Spokane, and went to grad school in California in his early 30s. His family couldn't get past him taking his DD away from them to be proud or happy that he was going to grad school. Even now, MIL pressures SD (19) to move back to where her "family" lives. Funny, I thought her family lived right here. I don't think that SD ever plans to move "back home."

The only thing you can do is to stubbornly continue to plan to do what you think is best for you and your son. Reduce the amount of info you give them and avoid talking about your plans. They have lost the right to be in the know about your life. The whole "but we helped you out and you owe us" BS should be met with you saying that you thought they had done it out of the goodness of their hearts and because they loved you, but if that was not their motivation.... While you are saying this, pull out your check book and give them the first instalment of the payback. Ask them to figure out exactly what they think you owe them monetarily and make every effort to pay it back. My guess is that they will drop the subject and won't accept any money from you.

In the mean time, find alternative after school care for your son, after all, you don't want to "owe" them any more than you already do, but do it as if it were something that every other mother is doing. Your mother and grandmother are over inlvolved with your son, and are going to have to be weaned from having him around all of the time or on demand. Get him involved in other activities.

My kids used to spend almost every weekend with my parents after we moved out. Eventually, they made friends in town, became involved in many activities and we began planing little trips over the weekend. Five years later, DD refuses to spend the weekend with them except in special circumstances and DS only goes there once a month, maybe. I feel like I am the alpha female now even though mom still belittles my role as their mother.

Its like we are more the sister than the parent, and our relationships with our children/life is secondary to the grandma's relationship with them. We were only the baby delivery system. People actually slip up and refer to MIL as SD's mom.

You have given them a precious gift in allowing them so much access to your son, they are taking it for granted and now believe that it is their right and should take precendence. They are wrong.