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Depressed About Mother's Day


ClaraOlive
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I have had a stressful relationship with my mother - She's a sincerely devout person and not wanting to hurt her was a lot of what kept me in Christianity for so long, but I also have resentment and anger about how she tried to keep me in a religious bubble and wouldn't allow me any outlets or relationships as a child that were outside Christianity.

 

She's a very emotional person whose life centers around church and social events. When we talk on the phone, we can't really communicate much about things in my life that interest me unless I frame it in some kind of social drama. So I mostly listen to her talk about mundane details about things she's doing with people at church. It's really not in a directly proselytizing vein, so I try not to let it frustrate me. For a while our relationship was stagnant but peaceful. We've been unable to talk much about religion, because first, she cries, and second, rational arguments don't mean anything to her since she gets her sense of identity and worth from Christianity.

 

But in the last month, both my parents have overstepped their boundaries with pushing religion and I've limited contact and limited what I share with them. I've worked hard to not feel guilty about setting boundaries. But these past few weeks, it seems like I'm constantly bombarded with messages about how wonderful mothers are, how your mother loves you more than anyone, and how close the "ideal" mother and daughter are. I'm not going to cave on the boundaries, but I feel sad. I feel sad that adherence to a stupid religion has put a wedge between my mother and myself. And I feel even more sad that to protect myself, I have to have firm boundaries with a person who is not a hypocrite and not merely using religion to manipulate others, but truly believes that Christianity is the way to salvation and happiness. I wish it didn't have to be that way.

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ClaraOlive, this is one of the hardest situations in the world among families. You worded your post very well. You said your mom is not even a hypocrite because she really believes in her god. The sad part is that we all had this fantasy about how families should be....the beautiful picture of sitting around the dining room table with all laughing and agreeing. This is not true most of the time. Some people may be lucky to have this, but not most of the people I know. There is always some kind of dissension.

 

You are in one 'reality' and she is in another 'reality'. You can accept hers but she can't accept yours. What she is doing is projecting 'unearned' guilt on you. She doesn't even mean to do that. You didn't 'earn' that guilt - that's why its called 'unearned guilt'...you don't deserve that.

 

I would send her nice a nice bouquet of flowers with a lovely card and not have much more to do with it than that.

One of the last things I did before my dad died was I spoke up to him for the first time in my life (You did NOT do that to my father!!) and instead of hanging the phone up in my ear...I earned his respect. It was the best feeling in the whole world.

Best of everything to you as you figure out what to do in this difficult situation. I know you can make it through!!

 

Sincerely Margee

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I second Margee, and I would throw in some chocolates as well.

 

Sadly, once people shut off their logic you can't go that route with them. Your best luck is probably to aim for the emotional side of your reasons if you want to leverage with her. But conversation only works if there is communication going both ways and both parties are willing to listen like adults :/

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I agree with the chocolates and flowers. You can maintain your boundaries by sending gifts because you can express your affection for them w/o communicating. this maintains the boundaries set between them and you.

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Sorry to hear.  That sucks.

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