Help: My Mother’s Obsessed with Me

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Hello ladies and gentlemen. My name is Keisha Stephen, and it has been three weeks. I’m proud of myself… proud that I haven’t waivered, relapsed or become influenced. Before I felt stifled, like I was being submerged in a small, four-foot tank of water. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t escape.
What is my problem, addiction or obsession? More like what’s obsessed with me! It’s been three weeks since I’ve deleted my mother from my BBM. Shhhhh… Don’t tell her. Let’s just say I had some ‘technical difficulties’.
What? This is serious! As an only child, I’ve wondered, “Is this normal?” Phone calls about family gossip or nothing particularly important five to eight times a day, every day of the week. Missed calls. Voice messages saying, “Why yuh not answering?” Of course it didn’t matter if I was at work or in a meeting. I had mastered the art of persuading her to buy every other phone but a Blackberry until the I.T. guy at her office convinced her otherwise. And, certainly, he was ever wonderful to show her how to operate each feature, including Blackberry Messenger. So, as expected, the day came when she asked me to be a contact.  We had a brief conversation about boundaries and control once again, like many times in the past, and then I added her.
Now don’t get me wrong; I love my mother. She was a single parent and sacrificed a lot for me, and still does even in my adult life. She was d’ boss and the only person who I could depend on and I’d try to do anything for her. But does that mean she still has the right to be so intrusive and controlling?
If you own a Blackberry, and like me, change your status more than three times for the day, you’d know that it has serious “track down” capabilities. Whenever I changed my picture, she’d know who I was out with, message me asking if I was eating sushi again, and if I didn’t answer in a timely fashion, I’d get PINGed. Who the hell taught my mother how to PING? (That damn I.T. guy again?). I’d get a “PING” during meetings, when liming, while doing my hair, and while sleeping. Why did they ever invent that in the first place?
BBM was now added to her artillery of numerous phone calls, religious chain e-mails and nagging. I’m not a cold-hearted person. Believe me. I felt guilty, and, in fact, asked God for forgiveness twice before pressing that delete button. But, how many of you all have felt as if your parents were obsessed with every single detail of your life to the point where you’ve wanted to scream, “Free me!”
Whenever my mother visits my apartment, she remarks about how I’m not taking care of the plants that she gave me and threatens to take them back. She sometimes rearranges my furniture, goes into the fridge, and washes my dirty plates that I just used. She frets, she fusses, and I feel like I’m under surveillance. Some experts say that this is a mother’s way to show her love.
According to Discovery Health family therapist, Dr. Laura Tracy, who specialises in counselling mother-daughter pairs, letting the daughter be her own woman is a universal issue.
“Will the mother accept the daughter as an adult?” she asks. “That means, when she’s visiting you, does she let you run your house? Does she trust you to be independent on small issues as well as large — who are you with, what’s your sexuality, where do you work, how do you spend your money? They can’t hear each other. The daughter will hear the mother say something, and she’ll think, ‘She wants to control me’. And the mother is saying something that absolutely is controlling, but is not meant to be.”
The result of all of this is anger, and, in my case, stress.
One of my techniques in trying to avoid too many arguments, and hostility was to regain some control in being always accessible via messenger. I also spoke to her afterwards and explained how I felt when she called so many times or got so upset with me, when she felt I was not readily available. She listened. Since then, I haven’t felt as overwhelmed as before, and our relationship has gotten much better.
I actually call my mother now for advice on even small matters or just to see how she’s doing because I want to. We laugh more, I feel less pressured, and it’s not forced – three weeks going strong! There are books and the Internet is loaded with tips on how to make mother/daughter relationships better, and how to deal with controlling parents. Women all over the world write on forums begging for advice.
I say be respectful in whatever strategy you use, as the last thing you’d want to do is hurt your parent’s feelings. Sometimes my mother makes comments about if I’m ever going to add her back, as I think she’s figured out my scheme, after all she’s known me all my life. But I often change the topic, and it seems to be working. Now, the day she decides to join Facebook…. well, good Lord help me, because that would be another story!

Hello ladies and gentlemen. My name is Keisha Stephen, and it has been three weeks. I’m proud of myself… proud that I haven’t waivered, relapsed or become influenced. Before I felt stifled, like I was being submerged in a small, four-foot tank of water. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t escape.

What is my problem, addiction or obsession? More like what’s obsessed with me! It’s been three weeks since I’ve deleted my mother from my BBM. Shhhhh… Don’t tell her. Let’s just say I had some ‘technical difficulties’.

What? This is serious! As an only child, I’ve wondered, “Is this normal?” Phone calls about family gossip or nothing particularly important five to eight times a day, every day of the week. Missed calls. Voice messages saying, “Why yuh not answering?”

Of course it didn’t matter if I was at work or in a meeting. I had mastered the art of persuading her to buy every other phone but a Blackberry until the I.T. guy at her office convinced her otherwise. And, certainly, he was ever wonderful to show her how to operate each feature, including Blackberry Messenger. So, as expected, the day came when she asked me to be a contact.  We had a brief conversation about boundaries and control once again, like many times in the past, and then I added her.

Now don’t get me wrong; I love my mother. She was a single parent and sacrificed a lot for me, and still does even in my adult life. She was d’ boss and the only person who I could depend on and I’d try to do anything for her. But does that mean she still has the right to be so intrusive and controlling?

If you own a Blackberry, and like me, change your status more than three times for the day, you’d know that it has serious “track down” capabilities. Whenever I changed my picture, she’d know who I was out with, message me asking if I was eating sushi again, and if I didn’t answer in a timely fashion, I’d get PINGed. Who the hell taught my mother how to PING? (That damn I.T. guy again?). I’d get a “PING” during meetings, when liming, while doing my hair, and while sleeping. Why did they ever invent that in the first place?

BBM was now added to her artillery of numerous phone calls, religious chain e-mails and nagging.

BBM was now added to her artillery of numerous phone calls, religious chain e-mails and nagging. I’m not a cold-hearted person. Believe me. I felt guilty, and, in fact, asked God for forgiveness twice before pressing that delete button. But, how many of you all have felt as if your parents were obsessed with every single detail of your life to the point where you’ve wanted to scream, “Free me!”

Whenever my mother visits my apartment, she remarks about how I’m not taking care of the plants that she gave me and threatens to take them back. She sometimes rearranges my furniture, goes into the fridge, and washes my dirty plates that I just used. She frets, she fusses, and I feel like I’m under surveillance. Some experts say that this is a mother’s way to show her love.

According to Discovery Health family therapist, Dr. Laura Tracy, who specialises in counselling mother-daughter pairs, letting the daughter be her own woman is a universal issue.

“Will the mother accept the daughter as an adult?” she asks. “That means, when she’s visiting you, does she let you run your house? Does she trust you to be independent on small issues as well as large — who are you with, what’s your sexuality, where do you work, how do you spend your money? They can’t hear each other. The daughter will hear the mother say something, and she’ll think, ‘She wants to control me’. And the mother is saying something that absolutely is controlling, but is not meant to be.”

The result of all of this is anger, and, in my case, stress.

The result of all of this is anger, and, in my case, stress.

One of my techniques in trying to avoid too many arguments, and hostility was to regain some control in being always accessible via messenger. I also spoke to her afterwards and explained how I felt when she called so many times or got so upset with me, when she felt I was not readily available. She listened. Since then, I haven’t felt as overwhelmed as before, and our relationship has gotten much better.

I actually call my mother now for advice on even small matters or just to see how she’s doing because I want to. We laugh more, I feel less pressured, and it’s not forced – three weeks going strong! There are books and the Internet is loaded with tips on how to make mother/daughter relationships better, and how to deal with controlling parents. Women all over the world write on forums begging for advice.

I say be respectful in whatever strategy you use, as the last thing you’d want to do is hurt your parent’s feelings. Sometimes my mother makes comments about if I’m ever going to add her back, as I think she’s figured out my scheme, after all she’s known me all my life. But I often change the topic, and it seems to be working. Now, the day she decides to join Facebook…. well, good Lord help me, because that would be another story!

 

Keisha Stephen-Gittens

Certainly a "Jackie of all Trades", Keisha Stephen-Gittens is a professional makeup artist, and has always had a keen interest in the arts and theatre, having been part of small productions. She holds degrees in journalism, public relations and communication studies, and is now an Account Coordinator at one of Trinidad' and Tobago's top, advertising agencies. Follow her on Facebook.

15 Comments

  1. Paula

    April 12, 2011 at 7:54 am

    Oh dear!!! I hope your mom has not found out that you’ve written an article about her lol. Seriously, your mom needs to realise that you are now an adult and that your relationship needs to be different and as such she needs to act differntly with you too.

  2. Dee

    July 28, 2011 at 12:19 am

    YOu only have one mother. And, some day she won’t be with you. For everyday that she was, be greatful. She isn’t obessed with you, she just loves you more than life itself. Remember that.

  3. gopi

    December 11, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    well. . .hopefully knowing that you’re not alone in this situation will make you feel better. my mom is an insecure, dramatic, jealous person and I have to f*cking live with her. . .so, remember, it could alwaus be worse!

  4. Hello World

    May 4, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    You know, mothers are people too and all these things we complain about go out the window once they are gone. My mom gets on my nerves a lot yes but you know what, she’s my biggest supporter, my hero and my friend.. When I put everything on a scale, what I love and cherish about her far outweighs the things that annoy me. Think about the total opposite of having a mother who is not present at alll and totally uninterested in your life, which do you prefer?

  5. Hello World

    May 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Gopi, if she’s so unbearable and if you have to speak about your mother in such terms then move out and find your own place….

  6. Mik1139

    November 23, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    I have an obsessive mother too . . . She had emotional problems in general and I moved across the country because I was having anxiety and depression problems related to her. Of course I know she loves me but the problem with an obsessive patent is that they don’t see the harm they do, and even you try to point it out they immediately get defensive and hurt. It’s a codependent relationship and can be extremely toxic. It’s easy to say that we should all be grateful for our moms, but moms are people and sometimes people have issues that hurt the people they love.

  7. Anonymous

    January 4, 2015 at 10:14 am

    I am facing the same problem in mother-son relationship and landed to this article.
    I feel very stressed out by her constantly messaging me and expecting reply to every message and even asking for my pics now-a-days. I am thinking of
    uninstalling WhatsApp. It is causing problems. Now i get pissed off and even shout and always in hurry for no reason when she calls me up.

  8. Mary

    February 26, 2015 at 1:42 am

    I can understand the woes of a mother daughter relationship. I have put up with my mom (whom I love more than any woman in the world) calling all hours of the night, getting involved in my marriages( talking to my ex about my comings and goings) behind my back, calling other people linked to me repetitively if she can not get in touch with me. It really has destroyed our relationship, I miss calling her to tell her about me day, she calls me until I anwser back and then it’s a series of questions in the same order every time: are you home, where is her grandson, and if I leaving to go anywhere. If I’m not home, she expects me to inform her when I arrive. She has even went to the extent of driving to my work to see if my car was in the parking lot. She has anxiety and depression and refuses to take any advice or listen to how I feel. Wish we were close again and that every conversation wasn’t forced

  9. Angela

    March 20, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    I am the mother, and I know that I’m. Obsessed with my daughter and her happiness. I want to make everything right for her . When she hurt I hurt. I cry for her even when she’s done good . I’m suppose to be strong and waiting to catch her. She tell me to back out trying to help in her relationship, but I be so caught up in how destroyed she’s going to be. Cause I know she be all in, in her relationships. Sometimes I think I’m crazy to be like this, but here it is girls, sick it up and be thankful. I think????? Help us

  10. Jen

    April 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    I am thankful right now that there are so many people out there that can relate to the obsessive mother/daughter relationship. I truly thought I was alone. My mom calls me over and over till I pick up. If I don’t answer she shows up at my house or my job. She gets stressed when I tell her I’m going out with friends and will find an excuse to call me later that evening to see if I’m home. We don’t have conversations, when she calls it’s a series of questions, what time I work, where I’m going , if I’m home etc. I love my mom more than anything, but this has caused me severe anxiety and depression. I am 42 and can’t continue this way of living. I don’t have a life, I feel trapped. I am in search of any advice I can get to help resolve this life long problem. maybe a book recommendation….thanks for reading.

    • Angela

      August 2, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Me too. Your situation sounded exactly like mine. People have told me to talk to her about it but it makes no difference. She constantly asks me if I’m happy. I’m a really happy person and the only time I feel unhappy is when I speak to her. I would be happy to call her once a week for a chat but her onslaught of questions every day just puts me off. If I don’t answer she will send the same question through every available channel. I’m 40 I no longer want to carry on like this. I don’t have answers but know you’re not alone.

  11. Julia

    August 12, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    To all the people saying “be thankful” try living with that lunacy for a month and see how thankful you are. It’s not love it’s obsession which is extremely unhealthy for both parties not to mention if they’re other siblings involved. Get your head out of your ass and stop torturing your children with this unhealthy obsessive stocking.

  12. Emily

    January 24, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    Oh my gosh- thank you for writing this article. I am going through this with my Mom. She emails me constantly & if I don’t get back right away there is a chain of emails asking is everything ok, etc- my whole family for that matter- I remind her I am at Work Monday- Friday. I’ll be at work on a Monday morning & check my phone around 11am & there are 5 emails from my Mom or Dad even -with some drama going on- it’s in there head. I’ve gotten to the point I have flagged my family to be sent to the “junk” folder & read them there picking one day a week to read. It nags at my stress level to the point Ive gotten a therapist. The worst part is that I feel guilty for having my feelings. I’m in my 40’s & totally feel trapped. I have no family of my own yet and they are not helping. Thanks for all the comments on here- it’s helped me just knowing I’m not alone.

  13. Linda

    February 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    I just recently have become an empty nester. My youngest (my daughter) left for college and is 3 hrs away. In the past Few months I’ve become obsessed with what she is doing at school, not academically but personally. She has never had a date and started talking about a boy she met at school. I was hoping she was finally going to have a date and finally a boyfriend but nothing has happened. I just can’t seem to let it go. I’ve become fixated on the two of them and them getting together even tho she has told me it isn’t going to happen. I guess I wonder if my daughter will ever date or marry at all. For some reason I am not fixated on my sons life like this. He goes to school nearby and I know he wants to marry some day.

    I’m happily married but also terribly lonely since the kids have moved out. I think this may be some of why I’m obsessed with my daughters personal life right now. I’m miserable.

    • Sue

      June 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

      Hi, I had to read your message a few times because it is almost identical to my situation. I would like to chat with you but I don,t want the whole world knowing my comments, I have never chatted on line before. Maybe we could help eachother. Take care. Sue

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