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Dear Stavroula

Ask Stavroula: My Mother Wants to Live with Me, but I Can’t Stand It

January 26, 2020

Dear Stavroula,

My mother wants to live with me again and I can’t stand it. I have lost my peace of mind, so I am writing to you. My relationship with my mother has always been difficult. She is a tough person, very tiresome and demanding. She does not tolerate anything to be done differently from what she wants and she persists until she gets her own way. She is never happy with anything or anyone, she grumbles about everything and she always sees people having bad intentions, even those she considers her friends. I never introduced her to any guy I had a relationship with, because I was afraid of her criticism – It was enough what I heard about my girlfriends. To be honest, I was always wondering how my father could tolerate her, when he was a kind and quiet person.

While I was living at home, I was compliant with her demands and would avoid answering her or lie, because I was so tired of fighting with her. When I started working and renting my own apartment, I felt total freedom (and happiness).

Unfortunately, my father suddenly passed away, and now my mother has asked to move in with me, because she says she cannot stand loneliness. I tried to tell her that this was not going to happen but she reacted badly and accused me of not caring for her. I felt sorry for her and told her we would see. I’m sorry, but I can’t bear to think of living with her. I don’t know what to do.

Maria

 

Dear Maria,

There is no parent who has not made mistakes, no matter how good the intentions are. What is important is that children can understand these mistakes and grow up to find their own balance. Working with a mental health specialist is very helpful in this process but so it our personal desire to get to know ourselves better.

From what you write to me, I understand that your mother uses manipulative ways to achieve what she wants. When you expressed opposition to her moving in with you, she tried (possibly unconsciously) to accuse you of not being a good daughter, of not caring for her as much as you should. This all made you feel bad, because we all usually want people in our environment and especially our family to have a positive image of us. Let us not forget that we have learned to perceive ourselves through their eyes.

Because it is often difficult to think emotionally about issues, let’s assume that a friend comes to you with the same problem. What would you advise her to do?

Would you think that she is not a “good daughter” because she feels the need to live alone and manage her own life the way she wishes? And if your friend’s mother phoned you and complained that her daughter doesn’t want to live with her and that she feels lonely, what would you say to her? In what ways would you advise her to overcome her problem?

I think you know the answers. You have already taken your life in your own hands, and there is no need to submit to your mother’s wishes, since you do not want to. Explain to her calmly that you love her and that you will be close to her, but you prefer to live alone. Show her you care by talking to her on the phone often, by visiting her, and going out together. Suggest some ways to better manage her loneliness. She could join a club or association, start a new hobby, study, go to the gym, and whatever else you think suits her. And if she somehow tries to emotionally manipulate and send you on a guilt trip, set your boundaries and say, “mom, this is your point of view. I know that I love and care for you and I am at peace with my conscience.”

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